The Incubator Arts Project presents Other Forces, an annual festival of work from some of independent theater's most innovative artists. For more information on any of the productions please contact Shannon Sindelar.


Robert Cucuzza and Transit Authority //

80 minutes // NY Premiere

TICKETS and schedule

In this line-by-line reinvention of August Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie, writer and director Robert Cucuzza distills an essential tale of class and sexual power dynamics and transports it to modern-day Pittsburgh. Set during a failed car dealership’s liquidation party, Cattywampus traces the rise and fall of Julie (Jillian Lauren), the owner’s wife, as she tries to escape the flaccid clutch of her disinterested husband. She sets out to seduce the unsophisticated detailer, Donnie (D.J. Mendel), and gets much more than what she bargained for—a dance partner, a goofy playmate, a cuckold-maker, and a partner in crime. Determined that Donnie and his restored Ford Pinto are her escape hatch out of married misery, she makes a last ditch effort and gambles it all on his cracked plan to relocate to Florida. But in a world that is so economically out-of-whack, she finds that her dreams of escape are no match for what seems like a predetermined fate.

Cucuzza and his collaborators orchestrate an intense rollercoaster ride through distinctly American forms—a sweeping country-western score written by Juli Crockett, Appalachian line dancing choreographed by Jordana Che Toback—along with a combination of naturalistic acting and aggressive physicality that binds Strindberg's characters, both rich and poor, vividly exposing their shared vulnerability in a time of economic collapse.

about the team

ROBERT CUCUZZA is an LA-based theater artist and filmmaker whose work has been presented at major theaters and festivals in Los Angeles and New York City, across the country and worldwide. Deemed a "master of mayhem" by The New York Times, his writing and directing work is known for its controlled chaos, imaginative physicality, dark humor, heightened theatricality and high stakes tension. He spent sixteen years in New York producing work with his companies Hangdog Theater and ACME Acting Lab and performing with such vanguard theater artists as Elevator Repair Service and Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater. His new company, Transit Authority, is both a producing organization for his own original work, as well as a chronicle of his past work with his companies Hangdog Theater and ACME Acting Lab. As an actor, he performed in three of Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater productions, and he is a 13-year company member with Elevator Repair Service, with whom he most recently originated the role of “Tom” in Gatz and played it across the globe.

JILLIAN LAUREN has worked with directors as diverse as Richard Foreman, Steve Balderson, Lynne Breedlove, Austin Young, Michelle Carr and Margaret Cho, performed at spoken word and storytelling events across the country and was a featured dancer with the infamous Velvet Hammer Burlesque. She recently debuted her solo performance piece Mother Tongue, also directed by Robert Cucuzza. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and her novel, Pretty, was released on August 30.

D.J. MENDEL recently presented his solo piece Dick Done Broke at The Bushwick Starr, and also performed in Richard Foreman’s Permanent Brain Damage, Panic! and The Universe, Lucy Thurber’s Monstrosity, Robert Cucuzza’s The Sticky Banister, Karen Coonrod’s Christmas at the Ivanov’s and 31 Down’s Red Over Red. A longtime collaborator with Hal Hartley, D.J. has been in the films Meanwhile, Fay Grimm, The Book of Life, No Such Thing, The New Maths, The Girl From Monday and in Mr. Hartley’s theatrical debut, Soon. As a director, he works regularly with Cynthia Hopkins, Roseanne Cash, Eileen Ivers and DBR.


Half Straddle //
Away Uniform

60 minutes // Preview Showing

TICKETS and schedule

Tina Satter and Half Straddle present a preview showing of Away Uniform, an unexpected companion piece and darker heartbeat of the critically acclaimed In the Pony Palace/FOOTBALL. Using her poetically tinged approach to the language and feelings of sports as a textual layer, Tina creates an even more abstracted, but potent world out on the Plains to consider teammates, family, and belief in something more.

Performers Pete Simpson, Jess Barbagallo, and Emily Davis are supported with a score by Chris Giarmo in a pared-down performative framework.

In today’s over-connected contemporary landscape that diffuses meaning from even our memories, the play imagines a separate and specific place where ritualistic re-creation, and the ongoing merging of a personal past, present, and future feels disturbingly necessary and like a kind of home.

about the company

HALF STRADDLE makes plays, performances, videos, and music written and directed by Tina Satter with the collaboration of a company that includes composer Chris Giarmo; designers Zack Tinkelman and Nathan Lemoine; and performers Jess Barbagallo, Eliza Bent, Emily Davis, Erin Markey, and Julia Sirna-Frest. Their critically-acclaimed shows include In the Pony Palace/FOOTBALL (2011, New York Times' Critic's Pick); FAMILY (Top 10 Show of 2009, Time Out New York); Nurses in New England (2010); and The Knockout Blow (2008) which have been curated into seasons at a number of New York and Brooklyn performance spaces including the Incubator Arts Project, HERE Arts Center, the Bushwick Starr, and the Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory. A new work-in-progress currently called Seagull (Thinking of you) was recently presented in an early showing at Prelude 11. Additional work has been shown at the Invisible Dog, CATCH performance series, Envoy Gallery, and Dixon Place where Tina was an artist-in-residence for Fall 2011. Tina and the company were named 2011 “Off-Off Broadway Innovators to Watch” by Time Out New York. A number of additional performers and artists including Becca Blackwell, Joseph Keckler, Annie McNamara, Susie Sokol, and Greg Zuccolo among others, have helped create these shows which feature original text and music, and highly specific, stylized frameworks that set up performative laboratories to slyly deconstruct the predictable or preconceived ways life is often presented to us in performance — in order to create an explosion, or delicate reveal, of new meaning.