World Premiere of Leigh Fondakowski's Spill, About the BP Oil Spill, Opens March 14 in Louisiana

By Michael Gioia
14 Mar 2014

Leigh Fondakowski
Leigh Fondakowski

The world premiere of Spill, a multimedia play inspired by the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill that is written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski (head writer of The Laramie Project) in collaboration with Reeva Wortel, officially opens March 14, following previews that began March 12.

Spill, about the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, is the co-creation of playwright-director Fondakowski and visual artist Wortel and is based on interviews, photographs and court documents collected in the aftermath of the spill.

Swine Palace presents the production, which continues through March 30.

Here's how the work is billed: "Spill explores the rich culture of Louisiana and the resilient nature of its inhabitants in the face of natural destruction and tragedy. The stories of the individuals, families, and communities whose history and daily lives are inextricably tied to the Bayou and the oil industry come to life in ways never before seen on stage. Through these poignant and deeply personal stories, Louisiana becomes a mirror of where we are as a society and a global community as we face the most important environmental, economic, and energy policy decisions of our time. Expressing the fundamental story of man versus nature, at the core of SPILL is the question: What is the true human and environmental cost of oil?"



Also part of the production are actor and dramaturg Kelli Simpkins and set designer and dramaturg Sarah Lambert.

As Fondakowski and Wortel collected over 200 hours of stories and interviews, Wortel painted portraits of each interviewee. The play premieres in conjunction with an art installation of these portraits.

Fondakowski was the head writer of The Laramie Project and has been a member of the Tectonic Theatre Project since 1995. She believes that "our task as theatre artists is to expand the boundaries of what is possible on stage and to make the work that does what the medium does best. We believe in a theatre that addresses the important social and human issues that affect us all."

The Reilly Theatre is located on Tower Drive near the south gate of the Louisiana State University campus. For more information, visit SwinePalace.org.