Value of Human Life Determined in Site-Specific, 9/11-Inspired Audit, Way, Way Off-Bway — in Queens

News   Value of Human Life Determined in Site-Specific, 9/11-Inspired Audit, Way, Way Off-Bway — in Queens
Audit, a new theatre piece that was inspired by "the ethically dubious cash awards given to victims' families" after 9/11, begins performances in a new theatre space in Long Island City, Queens, April 9.

The work was conceived by Brian Rogers, Aaron Rosenblum & Ryan K. Vemmer, has a text by Vemmer, and is directed by Rogers for theater et al, the Off-Off-Broadway company that has settled into a new 14,000-square-foot space, The Chocolate Factory.

"Audit illustrates the question of human value, or rather, how we attach a dollar-sign to a human life," according to production notes. "Inspired by the federal September 11th fund...the performance dissects why one life is worth more than another.  The world of the play is an exaggeration of the American dream — suburbia."

It features three families in three identical little houses, "and a judge who watches their every move, makes value adjustments, chooses who will live and die based upon their qualifications and status; and determines how much they're worth, once dead."

The audience watches the characters compete with one another for status as they struggle to keep going as the stakes grow increasingly more difficult.

"The audience surrounds each translucent house and watches the different families, who move and act identically, and play out their very disparate lives," said Brian Rogers in production notes. Describing Audit's unique site-specific staging in the former Dryden & Palmer Confectionary Co., Rogers said, "This is the first major production in our new space, and we will use nearly all 14,000 square feet of it!  We are only blocks away from PS 1 and the MoMA, so we are making our miniature suburban houses open as an installation on Saturdays between 12 and 5."

Given the fact that the No. 7 subway snakes through Long Island City, it's surprising that more theatre companies haven't settled there. The E, V and G lines also pass nearby. The first performances of Monday night performances of Audit are "pay what you will" shows for Queens residents who can prove residency.

Theater et al was most recently known for its production about fundamentalism, Fundamental at HERE.

The Audit artistic team includes installation design by Garin Marschall, sound and music by Brian Rogers, video by David Chikhladze with Brian Rogers.

The performers include Stephanie Braun, Nicholas Capodice, Jennifer Lee Dudek, Megan Gaffney, David Green, Bob Harbaum, Gary Hennion, Stephanie Hyland, Mikeah Jennings, Kate Kita, Aaron Rosenblum, Rachael Shane, Dawn Springer and Jenny Tibbels.

Performances continue to May 1 and play 8 PM Fridays and Saturdays and 7 PM Mondays. The Chocolate Factory is located at 44-02 23rd Street, fourth floor. Take the No. 7 train to 45th Road Courthouse Square or the E/V train to 23rd Street Ely Ave or the G train to Courthouse Square.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling (718) 482 7069.  For more information go to

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