Bailin Studio


1979 – 1984


'Disparate Acts", is concerned primarily with showing the correspondences that exist between even the most diverse actions, as well as between the various art forms through which these actions can be represented. By juxtaposing disparate elements, it endeavors to manifest a transcendent "whole".

— John S. Patterson • The Villager • 1979

About the Theater

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The Abreaction Theater was established in 1979 as collaboration between Geoffrey King, a composer in Boston, and me, a visual artist in NY. To produce the theater we established Proleptic Productions, a 501-3-C not-for-profit foundation. I had just finished working as a stage manager for the avant-garde playwright and director, Richard Foreman. The result of my experience with his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre was a script called Disparate Acts.

Through a mutual friend, the script ended up in the hands of Geoffrey King who proceeded to accumulate musical ideas and references as he manipulated the text through recording sessions and at his editing table. The success of Radio Sonata at its premier on May 4, 1979 at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston convinced us both to create a theater focusing upon a unique fusion of acoustic and performance environments.

By November, the Abreaction Theater presented Disparate Acts [At A Distance] in a small loft on Crosby Street in lower Manhattan. Confessions of A Conformist: The Lists followed in 1981 as the theater’s second production. The last work was entitled Beginning Terrain and was staged at Squat Theater in 1983.


Disparate Acts: At A Distance

156 Crosby Street
New York City

November 15 - December 16, 1979


Confessions of A Conformist

Ohio Theater
New York City

March 15 - April 15, 1981

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Epiphany from the studio

Richard Foreman

My apprenticeship

In 1979 I became Richard Foreman's stage manager for his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre production *Madness And Tranquility: My Head Was A SledgeHammer*. I had seen Rhoda in Potatoland and felt I had seen the most complete and satisfying work of art in my life. I went to his studio a week later and offered to work for him.

My audition was to create a doctor's examination tool using a flashlight as the base. After a couple of weeks of balancing my Master's course load, a graveyard shift UPS truck loader and a five hour stint in the theater at night, I asked to go full time and get a small stipend. In return, I would drop out of school (ironically, taking an incomplete in a directing course taught by legendary stage director, Harold Clurman), quit UPS and work exclusively for the Theatre.

Foreman taught me everything about directing, about creative thinking, about translating script to stage, lighting and sound.... and while getting to my loft early in the morning, I’d spend several hours working on my own script *Disparate Acts*. It was lucky that at the same time Foreman decided to close the production to concentrate on his film, I finished my script and contacted his actors to begin staging mine.
Image: ”Madness and Tranquility (My Head Was a Sledgehammer)"
Written and directed by Richard Foreman, NYC, 1979
Photo by Robert Del Tredici