Skirball Center features queer theater exploring Civil War ammunition, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’

LOS ANGELES — A performance inspired by unexploded Civil War ammunition buried in New York Harbor, Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film “Dr. Strangelove” and interviews with senior women?

“Unexploded Ordnances” is just another day in the theater for the New York-based Split Britches, the feminist theater company that has transformed queer and gender identity performance through vaudeville and satire.

“Unexploded Ordnances” will be staged Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of its Performance Lab series. The performance is a work in progress and a moderated discussion will follow.

Split Britches was founded more than three decades ago in New York City by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin. Their process was born out of the experimental theatre of the 1960’s and 1970’s and the accompanying political movements, such as anti-war, feminism and queer.

“We define ourselves, singly and collectively, as Independent Performance Artists who use live presence, multiple art disciplines, popular culture and any means imagined or necessary to communicate complicated ideas, to skew long-held beliefs, to challenge social and racial norms and more often than not provide a political commentary,” according to Split Britches website.

With “Unexploded Ordnances,” Split Britches expand the idea of audience engagement by inviting the audience to be a part of their creative process. Today and Thursday, from 3 to 5 p.m., people can drop by the Skirball gallery to watch rehearsals and engage with the performers.

On Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., people can talk with the performers about the show’s themes, like how to stop worrying and love the bomb?

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBT community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBT students.