UnionDocs presents Alison S.M. Kobayashi's multi-media solo piece inspired by an amateur audio recording made over 60 years ago. More…
The origin of this audio was a mystery. Two spools of thin steel wire were found tucked inside an obsolete sound device purchased by a collector at an estate sale. There were no labels; no dates, no names, and no context. Through her obsessive research and active imagination, Kobayashi decodes the rich dialogue in the recording and discovers the detailed history of a Jewish family from New York that bursts with humor, surprise, and drama. The one-woman show annotates, illustrates, and reconstructs the scenes of the recording, while revealing the stranger-than-fiction biography of the eldest son, David, who made the wire recordings. Using video, installation, performance and plentiful archival material, Kobayashi leads the audience through a close listening of this multigenerational tale.
"Hands down the best theatre experience of the 2017-2018 season...You should just buy a ticket now—any serious theatre-goer needs to see this show. 'Say Something Bunny!' is unlike anything I’ve seen—both daringly experimental and incredibly accessible, it is one of the only times I’ve ever left a show vowing to return...At its core, one of the most enjoyable mysteries I’ve encountered in a very long time...The amount you learn by the end of the evening is astounding." Full Review
"The piece is pure genius, unfurling with the the utmost grace, wit, and intelligence (I loved the show’s endless parade of visual and audio gags!). Indeed, the performance I attended exuded whimsical good humor and was a joy to partake in. Technically and aesthetically, the show is a marvel. The amount of detail that went into creating this out-of-the-box experience is nothing short of astonishing...I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it." Full Review
"One of the oddest and most captivating entertainments of the new season...Kobayashi's warm, sympathetic presence draws the audience in...Working together, she and her team have conjured -- almost out of thin air -- a one-of-a-kind performance piece that speaks volumes about families, changing times, and middle-class life in America in its post-World War II heyday." Full Review
“A suburban family invites the neighbors to dinner...It sounds punishingly ordinary. It is. It is also an out-and-out thrill...Ms. Kobayashi’s tender obsession is as catching as the chickenpox, and if the piece is forthrightly funny and briefly pornographic, it is also sneakily moving...'Say Something Bunny!' is about more than the particulars. It’s a low-key ontological thriller about how we live and what we leave and how we account for ourselves when some kid comes at us with a microphone.” Full Review
“I was particularly taken by ‘Say Something Bunny!’…Not only visually appealing, but it's also gentle, smart, and warm. It simultaneously paints a vivid portrait of a family and brilliantly reflects the artist's obsession with—even love for—said family, which she has partly and painstakingly documented, and partly invented…It is an impressive, extraordinarily well-researched and executed piece, that manages as well to be deeply touching and quite funny…An amazing accomplishment.” Full Review
"The everyday becomes enthralling in 'Say Something Bunny!,' a surprising new show that discovers compelling mysteries where the most intrepid sleuths wouldn’t expect to find them...A highly entertaining performance that takes the audience on her journey. It provides the thrill of storytelling with all the excitement of a mystery...The audience slowly feels the emotional force of Kobayashi’s work and inevitably begins to care about the Newburges." Full Review
“Captivating...It feels more like an experience than a performance. It is unique and very, very, very cool!...Projected videos and personal phone-sized digital screens enhance Alison's performance perfectly...'Say Something Bunny!' is funny and delightful. This is thanks, in part, to Alison's earnest and incredibly charming performance. This is the future of art. The kind of really-well-done avant garde theater that gets the attention of the nominating committees.” Full Review
"The captivating Kobayashi happens also to be a time traveler and shapeshifter, who literally plays the part of every person who touches the Newburge family’s narrative, however briefly...The experience is surreal and feels completely original...These typical, ordinary lives of the Newburge family feel extraordinarily real. Because it’s 1952 again and we are all piled inside in a cozy little house in Windmere, a place brightly lit and filled with love and warmth and music and cake." Full Review
“The play unspools unhurriedly, leaving space for Kobayashi to make jokes, play short films and highlight points of historical interest. It takes a while for it to sink in that—of course—many of these vibrant people must be long dead. The experience of ‘Say Something Bunny!’ is light, sweet, funny and dear. But Kobayashi’s deep humanism has a way of moving you, even days later. She sifts through the details of strangers’ lives, a prospector who knows that the sand itself is precious.” Full Review
"The personalization of the experience caused the line between performer and spectator to blur to such an extreme degree that I almost forgot where I was. I've never experienced a feeling quite like that before, and it's all thanks to Kobayashi's gentle demeanor and dedication to finding the truth...While you might not have seen theater like this before, once you start listening, you can't get enough of the story that unfolds." Full Review
"Kobayashi marshals an ethnographer’s appreciation for cultural and historical context, a genealogist’s relish for placing relations on a family tree, a private investigator’s instincts to follow any lead and connect all the dots, and a storyteller’s flair for filling in the empty spaces. But it also says something about her capacity for empathy. This isn’t just a project to her; it’s a family’s lives she is holding in her hands." Full Review
"'Say Something Bunny!' sits comfortably at the juncture of historical research, fiction, documentary, and performance art...Kobayashi’s success turns on both her extensive, iterative approach to her research as well as her charismatic ability to commit herself completely to reenactments of dozens of characters from the audio...Her performance infuses new life into what otherwise might be an easily overlooked piece of personal ephemera that gets thrown out in the trash." Full Review
for a previous production “‘Say Something Bunny!’ digs deep into the early 1950s through recordings of a Jewish family from Long Island that a friend unearthed at a New York City estate sale…The project is a work of profound empathy, lending meaning and drama to ordinary lives and inviting us to join the artist in inhabiting people from another time and culture.” Full Review
for a previous production “A multigenerational yarn of Rothian heights…Throughout the installation, Kobayashi renders the facts that define the lives of these idiosyncratic cast of characters, who are deeply felt and most remarkably, close and real...Even without the content, the presentation alone would be compelling...She herself describes the project as being informed by 'amateur historical research.' But with those imperfections she brings humanity and life to her subjects." Full Review
See it if you're interested in a historic look back at a family in NY, seen through the eyes of an outsider. Fascinating archeological look at a fam.
Don't see it if you want to miss something that is truly special. Or if you'd be creeped out by this outsider researching people she doesn't know.
See it if you want to have a unique experience in the theatre. Kobayashi investigates a Jewish family in the 1950's, and slowly reveals their history
Don't see it if you don't like intelligent or unusual theatre.
See it if You love unique theatrical experiences that pull from different manners of storytelling. Intimate shows are your jam.
Don't see it if You don't like intimate shows, being present, reading, or don't find family histories interesting. You're looking for traditional theatre.
See it if You enjoy unique theatrical experiences. It's unlike anything else: Part play, part art installation, and part living history.
Don't see it if You don't like interactive shows. You don't have to participate in any way, but the setting is very intimate and demands full engagement.
See it if Delving into two old recordings transports us to the past and celebrates the richness of life. Unique take on family, time and mortality.
Don't see it if You aren't interested in multimedia nonfiction performance art. You don't have the patience for a 2 1/2 hour experience.
See it if You delight in watching mysteries unfold right before your eyes. What a fascinating journey! Don't miss this - utterly original, delightful!
Don't see it if You want a traditional theater experience. Having said that, go see this show anyway! You'll be glad you did!
See it if You want a completely original performance piece. Like being a part of a live unfolding documentary. So good. So original.
Don't see it if You are looking for a play or musical. This is not that. If you don't like performance shows.
See it if you like new forms of theater, including some minimal audience participation, but storytelling and exposition in a new and fascinating way.
Don't see it if You want traditional plays or musicals. This is unlike anything else I have seen.
See it if you are open to a different experience, an historical exploration that is part play, part performance art. Clever use of technology.
Don't see it if you only like fully-produced plays/musicals, or would be uncomfortable in an intimate setting
See it if You want to see theatre that is outside of a proscenium. This is a show that engages and is entertaining in a surprising way.
Don't see it if You don't like theatre that is not "traditional".
See it if you want to take a unique, intriguing multimedia adventure w/a charming host as she unravels the mystery of voices on a found wire recorder.
Don't see it if you don't like documentary theater or experiential theater; you can't find the extraordinary meaning in seemingly ordinary events.
See it if you want to go on a compelling trip, orchestrated by the marvelous Alison Kabayashi.
Don't see it if your tastes don't allow for something extraordinary. This is not a play; it's an enveloping experience.
See it if you're open to a completely unique, painstakingly researched, funny and humanizing performance, up close and personal.
Don't see it if you're not interested in complicated New York-centric family histories.
See it if you're up for something completely different; you enjoy sleuthing; you like mysteries; you enjoy multimedia pieces.
Don't see it if you like traditional fare; you want to be in a real theater; the idea of reading along for the entire evening does not appeal to you.
See it if you like unique and original theatrical experiences. You enjoy learning about ordinary people's lives.
Don't see it if you prefer more traditional theater. You don't like intimate and immersive experiences (although there is no audience participation).
See it if you want a truly unique evening of theatrical entertainment that is sure to move you - I've never seen anything like it, long may it run!
Don't see it if you only want 'traditional' theatre, this is very different. Some hard hitting moments, but only because it is so real.
See it if if you are into intimate and innovative performance art. This is different than anything else out there! It makes you think.
Don't see it if if you don't like experimental theater and prefer to be a passive audience member.
See it if You like going into a show not knowing what to expect. Very unique, very absorbing, very winning show.
Don't see it if You are looking for something more run-of-the-mill--this is a really unique experience.
See it if you want something unexpected and completely different from traditional theatre, interested in family histories and storytelling
Don't see it if you like traditional theatre; are uncomfortable with group participation
See it if You are interested in a completely different intimate immersive theatre-like experience. No active participation required.
Don't see it if You do not have an open mind and are interested in only traditional theatre.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies