In Habit, a theater installation coming to Essex Street Market, three actors perform a 90-minute slice of “conventional American Realism” inside a fully-functioning house, over and over, for eight hours a day. While the actors stick strictly to scripted dialogue, all of the staging is improvised. “When they’re hungry, they cook,” reads the project’s Kickstarter page. “When they’re dirty, they wash.”
Director David Levine’s premise is intriguing, even if it does recall a miniaturized Synecdoche, New York–right down to the warehouse-like setting. The scripted dialogue/improvised staging gambit should allow for a nice balance between art-is-life-is-art pomo-ness and traditional theater, hopefully without veering too closely to reality TV territory. The performance will live and die by the quality of its script and the actors’ ability to deliver it; a gimmick like this is only as good as the substance behind it.
Habit, which premiered in Toronto last year, will run eight hours a day from September 21-30. The show will be free and open to the public.