Is This a Room
€ 16 / €13
English → NL, FR
3 June 2017. Reality Winner, a 25-year-old former air force linguist, is surprised at her home by the FBI, interrogated, and then charged with leaking documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) containing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election. When she read the transcription of this interrogation, Tina Satter, an American dramatist and director based in New York, was struck by this young woman’s humour and intelligence as she is ensnared by military interrogation tactics and a toxic and systematic masculinity that leads to her being sentenced for espionage. In Is This a Room, Tina Satter’s company Half Straddle reproduces the verbatim transcription, including its silences and digressions. Arising out of this verbal dance between Reality Winner and the FBI agents are disturbing questions about the place of a security state in our democracies. The piece is as much an exploration of male power as it is nationalistic hubris, or rather the inextricable link between them. Reality Winner is currently serving a prison sentence of five years and three months and is the first person to be convicted under the Espionage Act in Donald Trump’s presidency.
See also: Artist talk
Confronted with the SARS-CoV-2 crisis, we had to cancel this project
Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts-Théâtre Varia
Concept and Direction: Tina Satter
with: Frank Boyd, Joe Lanza, Katherine Romans, T.L. Thompson
Score: Sanae Yamada
Costume Design: Enver Chakartash
Set Design: Parker Lutz
Lighting Design: Thomas Dunn
Sculptural Design: Amanda Villalobos
Production and Stage Management: Randi Rivera
Technical Direction: Jørgen Skjaervold
Associate Producer: Mariana Catalina
Producer: Meiyin Wang
With support from: Howard Gilman Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels
Foundation, Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts
Financial support: New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with
the City Council and New York State Council.
Is This A Room was developed in part at The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, New
York Theatre Workshop's Dartmouth Residency, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural
Council Residency in 2018.
Special Thanks: Brooke O’Harra, Lumi Tan, Nick Zeig-Owens, Jess Barbagallo, Bora
Kim, Lili Chopra and all of LMCC staff, Linda Chapman, Jim Nicola, Madeleine
Oldham, Sonia Kennebeck, Greg Hermann, Gabriel Marin, Kyle Vincent Terry,
Devon Granmo, Danny Manley, Hanna Novak, Billie Winner-Davis, Reality Winner,
Tim Griffin, Zack Tinkelman, Ian Douglas-Moore, Tavish Miller, Keilly McQuail,
Captain Horatio Bonkers, Joey Truman, Rebecca Hermenze, Andrea Nellis, Rachel
Viola, Vineyard Theater, Nick Stuccio and FringeArts staff, Christopher Gruits
Half Straddle is an Obie-winning, New York City-based company started in 2008 that makes plays, performances, videos, and music led by writer and director Tina Satter that have been seen throughout the United States and internationally.
Half Straddle has premiered 10 full-length shows, and a number of shorter works and video projects that have been seen at festivals and theaters throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Asia.
With a constant internal engine and focus on feminist and queer dynamics that feels more necessary than ever, the company’s work has grown in recent years to include teaching, workshops, and curated lecture series of other artists in addition to their ongoing making of performances, music, and videos.
All of Half Straddle’s company members and collaborators also work extensively in a range of other performance contexts, often creating their own work, in avant-garde theater to Broadway, to university teaching and as theater artists in NYC public schools.
Tina Satter is a writer, director, and Artistic Director of Obie-winning theater company Half Straddle. Her over 10 plays, performances, and videos made with Half Straddle have been presented at theaters and festivals in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. She had her Off Broadway debut in October 2019 when her play Is This A Room premiered at the Vineyard Theatre in an extended run and was named Best of 2019 Theater by numerous publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine, and ARTFORUM. Tina is a recipient of a 2019 Pew Fellowship, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, and a Doris Duke Impact Artist Award. Tina has been in residency at Yaddo, Headlands Art Center, LMCC, The Performing Garage, New Museum, MASS MoCA, and been visiting faculty and/or a guest artist in recent years at Yale, NYU, Princeton, University of Michigan, Bowdoin, Reed, Sarah Lawrence, University of Pennsylvania and the Hunter MFA playwriting program. Her first collection of plays, Seagull (Thinking of you), was published.