Apr 20 2016

This week, we are hosting the next installation of the Art Pub series at the Mission Theater: "SPILL: Excerpts from the Original Theatrical Production."

This event, featuring the work of McMenamins artist and theater/visual artist Reeva Wortel, poignantly marks the 6th anniversary of the most destructive environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. Read more below...

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The BP oil disaster began on 4/20/10 in the Gulf of Mexico on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Following the explosion and sinking of the rig, a sea-floor oil gusher flowed for 87 days and became the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.

Eleven lives were lost, and 17 people were injured. The incident caused calamitous damage to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing and tourism industries.

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill, playwright Leigh Fondakowski and artist Reeva Wortel created SPILL, a play based on interviews they conducted with people of the Gulf Coast affected by the disaster. The play and art exhibition explores Louisiana's long history with the oil industry, creating awareness about the important environmental issues affecting not only Louisiana, but also the rest of the country.

SPILL recounts the story of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent impact on the estuary and marine life, but also takes a close look at the people, the history, the culture and the environmental crisis of coastal erosion facing southern Louisiana.

Fondakowski and Wortel conducted interviews in the Gulf Coast region through March 2011, "talking with people across the political spectrum - from Tea Party Republicans to life-long environmental conservationists, families who lost loved ones in the explosion on the oil rig, as well as oil-rig workers, clean-up workers, scientists, politicians, priests, and members of the diverse fishing communities along the coast."

Each interviewee also posed for a portrait. Wortel took a series of photographs from which she painted thirty stunning, life-sized portraits.

At Wednesday's Art Pub performance, several of these portraits will be projected near life-size onto the movie screen while a cast of actors reads excerpts from the transcripts, presenting the poignant and often emotional experiences and perspectives of the respective interviewees. Following the presentation, Wortel will take questions from the audience.

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