Studio Visit

12–1:30am / Oct 7 / Segal Theatre

The Bumps

Rachel Kauder Nalebuff

Photo by Arianne Alizio
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 Julia Felsenthal.


The Bumps is a play about grappling with the unknown, made for a cast of pregnant performers. Actors begin by playing three women in a waiting room in the 80’s and then replay the same scene, but from the perspective inside the characters’ bellies. The play picks up a generation later to follow their daughters, now grown-up, in an underwater aerobics class. Interwoven throughout the play in atmospheric interludes, actors reflect on their present experiences. Behind the scenes, The Bumps reimagines the rehearsal, production, and performance processes to center around the needs of pregnant actors and families, creating both a functional production and an invitation to restructure the wider theater industry. The play features characters in three stages of pregnancy. For an extended run, one actor performs all three roles before graduating from the piece, thus creating room for a new performer to enter the process. By casting an ongoing cycle of performers, The Bumps creates a small economy for pregnant performers and embraces the ephemeral nature of live performance.

Free childcare will be provided from 7:30-10:00 PM in the CUNY Graduate Center for audience members with children ages 2+ during the program. Make a reservation for your child by RSVPing to before October 5th.

Rachel Kauder Nalebuff explores news kinds of community through performance and writing. She is the editor of My Little Red Book (Twelve Books, 2009) and co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project (Feminist Press, 2015) with Alexandra Brodsky. Her play The Bumps (2017) is a cyclical play about the unknown, written for a cast of pregnant performers who rotate through the production. The Seed Eaters, (2017) a meditation on endings made with Emily Mast, can be performed by any three people who are different from one another. A Quarter Century, (ongoing) features people over 65 and under 25 swapping language and insights. Rachel is also the director of 3 Hole Press, an experimental publisher of new plays in printed formats. Her work has recently been supported and presented by the Steirischer Herbst Festival, NYU, the National Performance Network, the Skirball Cultural Center, the Hammer Museum, and REDCAT.

Collaborating Artists: By Rachel Kauder Nalebuff made with and directed by Deena Selenow; Sound by Celia Hollander; Performed by Ying Ying Li, Jessica Luck, Elise Peterson, and Wil Petre. The Bumps has been developed collaboratively with artists Jennie Liu, Shannon Scrofano, Lena Sands, Matthew Bamberg-Johnson, Camila Ascensio, and each performer who has participated. The project has received support from the WCCW, Moskowitz Bayse Gallery, the National Performance Network, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Hammer Museum. Special thanks to Madeline Barasch, Frank Hentschker and Andrew Kircher.

Julia Felsenthal is the senior culture writer for, where she writes about art, film, books, television, occasionally politics, and even more occasionally theater. She lives in Brooklyn.

Sept 23-Nov 19, 2017 (Grazer Kunstverein, Austria). The Seed Eaters – a deconstructed play where language, objects, and participants’ personalities have equal value, made with Emily Mast.
Nov 7, 9, 12, 2017 (NYU Black Box Theatre, New York). The Birds – an original adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy, commissioned by NYU’s Drama Therapy As Performance Department, written for residents of the Hebrew Home for the Aged.

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