LOT-EK and set designer Christine Jones will be premiering their project Theater for One in Times Square, two weeks from now. It “will be up for 10 days, with performances open to the general public”—but, as the architects point out, the public is only invited “one at a time.”
Specifically, the petite space is “a theater for one actor and one audience member. Inspired by small one-to-one spaces—such as the confessional or the sex peep-booth—Theater for One explores the intense emotion of live theater through the direct and intimate one-to-one interaction of actor and audience.”
In many ways, I’m reminded of the dramatic intensity of Nancy Bannon’s Pod Project, which consisted of “13 private, one-on-one performances housed within 13 sculpted spaces.” In Bannon’s work, “the viewer actually enters the performance environment and experiences a one-on-one exchange in unconventional proximity. The interiors of the sculptures/pods are personalized”—but this also means that each pod has been architecturally stylized so as to fit the dramas involved.
What I like about the LOT-EK/Christine Jones project is the blank architecturalization of this dramatic experience; portable, easily deployed, and externally neutral, the Theater for One could just as easily be reused as an interviewing station, a place for personal confrontation, or even a writing lab. It could be a dressing room, private cinema, or staging ground for psychedelic self-actualization—and I would actually love to see this thing hit the road someday, popping up all over the U.S. and abroad, to see what flexibly subjective uses people wish to put it to. NPR meets Storycorps, by way of a one-actor play.