Naropa Unversity’s SPILL is a play about the 2010 BP oil spill and the Deepwater Horizon explosion that caused it. The play shows the tragedy from the perspectives of the oil rig workers, their families, scientists, lawyers, and residents in the gulf region. This piece told a emotional and honest story that delved far deeper than what was heard on the news at the time.
SPILL is inspired by true events. I spent three years interviewing people affected by the DEEPWATER HORIZON explosion and the resulting BP oil spill of 2010, the largest environmental disaster in United States history. My artistic team has also studied court documents, media coverage, and other found text as source material in our investigation. While most of the dialogue comes directly from these interviews and documents, the piece also includes original writing based on these interviews, as well as conversations, observations, and our firsthand experiences.
The people we have met in the Gulf have changed our lives forever. I had been warned that we should be careful, that the people of Texas and Louisiana might be reluctant to participate in a project on this topic, particularly as an outsider. But in truth, the people we met welcomed us, they were incredibly generous with their time, and they made us feel very much at home. The story of this place and the people is far more complicated than I realized when I first began. Their stories speak to the very complicated and politically charged energy issues of our time.
—Leigh Fondakowski, playwright / director
Sondra Blanchard: Narrator, Arleen Weise, Andrea Fleytas, Kerry St. Pé, Ensemble.
Jade Garisch: Shelley Anderson, Ensemble.
Mark Gibson: Mike Williams, Pat O’ Bryan, Michael Brune, Johnathan Henderson, Ensemble.
Joshua Lorris: Bill Anderson, Jimmy Harrell, Steve Bertone, Billy Nungesser, Ensemble.
Michael Sater: Bob Bea, Randy Ezell, Jorey Danos Ensemble.
Kevin Vaught: Keith Jones, Christopher Pleasant, Pat Cambell, Gary Bartholemy, Ensemble.
John Wittbrodt: Jason Anderson, Tony Hayward, Ensemble.
China Young: Lillian Meyer, Mary Landry, Jolene Danos, Ensemble.
Michael Blendermann: Video Operator
Jake Cacciatore: Set Carpenter
Karen Cruz: Assistant Stage Manager (Lead)
Emma Quarterman: Light Board Operator/Light Design Assistant
Brandon Thomas: Assistant Stage Manager
Ethelyn Friend & Lorenzo Gonzalez: Dialects
Gary Grundei: Composer
Sarah Lambert: Set Designer
Cameron MacAlpine: Sound Design/Sound Board Operator
Shevek Majors-Peer: Lighting Designer
Colleen Mylott: Assistant Director/Choreography
Jeffrey Sichel: Producer
Leo Soula-Hutchison and Malachi Tharp: Production Stage Manager
SPILL was written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski.
Dramaturgy by: Sarah Lambert, Kelli Simpkins, and Reeva Wortel.
Development: SPILL was originally commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Commissioned and Developed with support from The Ensemble Studio Theatre / Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project.
SPILL premiered on March 14, 2014 at Louisiana State University’s Swine Palace, George Judy, Artistic Director; Kristin Sosnowsky, Managing Director, in Baton Rouge, LA, in association with The Study Group
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