Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, March 19, 2021

Of all the possible spots in Central Park to stage a play, I’m pretty sure the restrooms at Bethesda Terrace Fountain wouldn’t occur to most theater organizers as the optimal performance space.

But the Irish Arts Center, of all troupes, thought otherwise when it came to its production of “Ladies & Gents”. The cramped toilet ambiance was such a good fit for this noir thriller set in 1950s Dublin that the play’s the thing, for $25 a pop later this month.

Of course, they were aiming for toilet space in the first place:

The bureaucracy involved in getting permission to host a play in a toilet was another matter altogether. After the play’s success in European bathrooms — first as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival and later on a small tour of England and Scotland, where it won the Edinburgh Fringe First Award — Heller and the Irish Arts Center hoped to bring it to New York. Everyone underestimated the amount of red tape involved in renting public restrooms.

“It was a big toilet mess,” said Laoisa (pronounced LEE-SHA) Sexton, one of the show’s six actors who was dispatched to help with “the great New York loo hunt.”

Sexton quickly discovered what any frustrated tourist could have told her: “There really aren’t a lot of public toilets in New York City to choose from.”

Of the meager offerings, bathrooms at Grand Central Station and in Riverside Park were rejected for their small size and busy traffic. Then the loo hunters discovered the Bethesda Terrace bathrooms. It took over a year of back and forth with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, including a personal letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to win approval.

With that much attention to detail, it’s just gotta be a winner.

If I can snag a ticket, I’m definitely going to catch a performance (plenty of dates are already sold out). The tricky part is, who to go with? Not every girl will swoon over the prospect of attending a theatrical performance in a stinky public bathroom. That’ll take some work, I guess.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/19/2008 10:58:47 PM
Category: Creative, Media, New Yorkin'
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  1. CENTRAL PARK TOILET THEATER, FIRSTHAND…

    As intrigued as I was about “Ladies & Gents”, the offbeat theatrical production being staged in Central Park’s public restrooms, I doubted that I’d be able to find a date willing to share the experience.
    Well, luckily I did…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 03/30/2008 @ 11:12:14 PM

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