Studio Visit

10:30pm–12am / Oct 5 / Segal Theatre

AYN RAND: Trauma Response

The Builders Association

Photo courtesy of the artists
Studio Visits are evening-length hybrid performance events, offering audiences a multi-angled view of the featured artist and their craft. Each Studio Visit includes an introduction by the artist, a presentation of new work-in-process, a critical response essay by a guest artist, and a Q&A. The guest artist for this Studio Visit is Helen Shaw.


AYN RAND: Trauma Response looks at the life of Ayn Rand, the controversial and influential writer and philosopher, who is partially responsible for this current searing moment in American politics. Rand’s philosophy, “objectivism” has captivated the alt-right movement in the US and is in special favor with the Tea Party and its friends in Washington. The president has said that Rand’s most well-known book, The Fountainhead “relates to everything.” Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, was a Jewish girl born into czarist Russia in 1905 in St. Petersburg. Her father was a prosperous pharmacist but with the October Revolution of 1917 everything changed for the Rosenbaums. Their property was seized and they were plunged into poverty and chaos. These traumatic events led Alisa to leave Russia for the United States, change her name to Ayn Rand and move to Hollywood, where she began her astonishing career by writing “scenarios” for silent pictures. TRAUMA RESPONSE examines how Ayn Rand became one of America’s most influential writers and whose ideas about free-market capitalism shaped US and world economic policy and ushered in the age of Trump and Brexit.

The Builders Association Founded in 1994 and directed by Marianne Weems, The Builders Association is a New York-based performance and media company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary life. The company uses the richness of new and old tools to extend the boundaries of theater. Based on innovative collaborations, Builders’ productions blend stage performance, text, video, sound, and architecture to tell stories about human experience in the 21st century. From BAM to Bogata, Singapore to Melbourne, Minneapolis and Los Angeles to Budapest, The Builders Association’s OBIE award-winning shows have toured to major venues the world over.

Collaborating Artists: Marianne Weems, director; James Gibbs, dramaturg/writer; Dan Dobson, sound design; Hannah Heller, actor; Moe Angelos, actor/writer

The Builders would like to thank Cynthia Hedstrom and The Performing Garage, Helen Shaw and all of the great believers at Prelude.

Helen Shaw writes about theater and performance for Time Out New York, 4Columns, The Village Voice, American Theatre magazine and TheatreForum. She wrote the introduction to The Difficulty of Crossing a Field: Collected Plays by Mac Wellman (pub. University of Minnesota Press) and is at work on her own book on Wellman. She twice curated Prelude, has twice been an Obie judge, and she also teaches at NYU.

Upcoming: The Builders are also working on an adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, which will be at BAM in 2018.

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