Submersive theater: Theater piece performed in a bathtub

Submersive theater: Theater piece performed in a bathtub
Splish, splash: Siobhan O’Loughlin stars in the one-woman immersive theater experience “Broken Bone Bathtub,” in which she regales the audience with stories while lounging in the tub.
Photo by Jason Speakman

She is really cleaning up her act!

With a bathroom for her theater, a tub for her stage, and bubbles for her wardrobe, Brooklyn actress Siobhan O’Loughlin is inviting a limited audience to an immersive theater experience they are unlikely to forget. Ticket holders will join the nude thespian in a secret powder room as she bathes and regales them with tales of her storied past, she said.

“The play is not meant to be risqué,” said O’Loughlin. “It’s about friends helping each other out. But it has that authenticity, and if you’re really scared of maybe seeing a boob, then don’t come.”

The show, called “Broken Bone Bathtub,” accommodates an audience of no more than eight people, and will take place within yet-to-be disclosed bathrooms located in Red Hook, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and Bushwick. There — wherever that is — theatergoers will play the part of O’Loughlin’s good friends, who have gifted her the privilege of bathing in their tub.

O’Loughlin’s character has just suffered a terrible bike accident and her arm is in a cast. Not wanting to dampen the plaster in her shower, but not owning a tub of her own, O’Loughlin has requested the use of her friends’ bathtub. As her friends, audience members will be privy to the story of her wrist’s harrowing encounter with the pavement, and be asked to share similar experiences of their own, according to O’Loughlin.

“So half of it is my narrative and half is the audience’s,” she explained. “It’s very participatory. They contribute to the play based on the subject they choose to talk about.”

The bathroom ambiance is not intended to shock. In fact, O’Loughlin says the experience is meant to be light, fun, and relaxing.

“It’s not a heavy piece of performance art, I’m not going to be reciting poems about suicide,” she said. “It gives people the opportunity to open up in ways they haven’t been encouraged to before.”

A lot of productions benefit from smoke and mirrors, but “Broken Bone Bathtub” relies heavily on bubble effects, according to O’Loughlin, who says suds are essential to providing authenticity — and protecting her modesty.

She says a production assistant she’s been working with has become extremely proficient at making bubble baths thanks to his experiences working on the show.

“I have a PA and part of his job is to make a really good bubble bath,” she said.

“Broken Bone Bathtub” at various locations through Jan. 31 (www.siobhanoloughlin.com/nyc). Next show in Red Hook on Jan. 7, at 7 pm and 9 pm. $23. Location will be sent to ticket holders after purchase.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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