PearlDamour + Shawn Hall: How to Build a Forest
The Kitchen (512 W. 19th St., Manhattan)

Known for transforming narrative into something richer, stranger, and ineluctably feminine, OBIE Award-winning PearlDamour (Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour) join forces with New Orleans-based visual artist Shawn Hall for a hybrid project: part visual art installation, part theater performance that unfolds over an extended eight-hour interval. Beginning with an empty stage, PearlDamour, Hall, and a team of performer-workers transforms The Kitchen’s theater from floor to ceiling, constructing and then dismantling an elaborate evolving environment evocative of an old growth forest at one moment and a spectacular deep-sea landscape the next.

Audience members are invited to enter the mutating installation throughout the process to get a closer look, or they can choose to take a self-guided tour that leads them through the installation and out on to the High Line. Furthermore, new short texts by Lisa D’Amour weave through each hour of the build. An extensive “source guide” tracks the lineage of every material used to build the forest: where it came from in the earth, where it will go once the artists are finished using it. Inspired by Hurricane Katrina and further informed by the BP oil spill, How to Build a Forest invites contemplation about our relationship with the natural world: how we live in it, rely on it, use it, and use it up. The work also features sound design by composers and sound artists Brendan Connelly and Christopher DeLaurenti and lighting design by Peter Ksander and Miranda Hardy.