Gary Indiana’s Phantoms of Louisiana

Review of Gary Indiana’s early play Phantoms of Louisiana. Featuring Taylor Mead, Sharon Niesp, and Betsy Sussler with sets by Ross Bleckner and Mark Tambella.

BOMB 3 Spring 1982
003 Winter Spring 1982
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Gary Indiana’s Phantoms of Louisiana. Photos by Elinor Vernhes.

Starring: Mary Lemley, Sharon Niesp, Donald West, Allen Frame, Vicki Pederson, Betsy Sussler, Patrick Fox, Taylor Mead, Michael Ableman, and Gary Indiana.

Sets: Ross Bleckner, Mark Tambella

Music: Evan Lurie

A play inspired by strange events at the La Luisane, the Chelsea of Paris, written on the train from Paris to Frankfurt, set on the island of Mestizo off the coast of Louisiana.

Author was “inhabited by voices.” On one level, a farce of Southern Gothic cliches: dripping Spanish moss, hints of incest, mysterious deaths, rampant passion. On another, a rupture of theatrical conventions, the intrusion of a rewrite of Salome as a collective hallucination by the characters—a play which finally disassembles its own premises in the penultimate scene.

Kate Valk by David Salle & Sarah French
Valk03 Body

“I worked at Shepherd-Pratt mental hospital, and I liked to take my name tag off and maybe be confused for one of the patients.”

The Wooster Group by Mark Magill
Wooster 1 Body

It is a strange fact of nature that the most violent forms of weather—hurricanes and tornadoes—have at their heart a calm, still center. That center is only evident because of the contrasting fury that surrounds it. Otherwise, it’s just another pleasant, sunny day.

Ieva Misevičiūtė by Melanie Bonajo
Ieva Miseviciute Bomb Magazine 01

A performance artist who grew up in the circus uses clowning, street dance, and butoh in playful and provocative combinations.

Originally published in

BOMB 3, Spring 1982

Barbara Kruger & Richard Prince, Keith Sonnier, Valie Export, Alan Scarritt, and Jim Chladek. Cover by Mark Magill.

Read the issue
003 Winter Spring 1982