stuck on repeat: the story of our lives

Good art sticks with you. It may not always be the slickest, most “well-made,” or mass consumed, but it haunts you, makes you think, and frequently lures you back.

Habit, the creation of David Levine from text by Jason Grote, is one of those pieces. An offering that challenges actors to repeat the same 90 minute play for eight hours at a time, Habit places the audience in the role of voyeur, peaking through windows and doorways to catch a glimpse of the action. The entire set is the first floor of a house constructed in a raw space on Essex Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is an existential exercise in humanity, and I hope to check it out again before it closes on Sunday, September 30th.

Blurry snapshot from my phone’s camera.

The production notes offer a handy explanation of why Levine conceived the project and how it works, but I (as I do with most plays I attend) chose not to read the production notes until after I experienced it. I’m glad I did. Unlike some press explanations about the production, I won’t divulge its secrets. My above description is even more than I’d like to share, for when one views Habit blindly, surprises surface.

Today, Maria Popova of Brainpickings coincidentally posted about a different Habit, by William James. She shares the concept of “habit loops,” which (probably not coincidentally) is the term Levine uses to label the repetition of Grote’s play. Each loop of the play is slightly different than the previous, and these differences magnify how peoples’ choices affect life.

Don’t expect to be blown away by Levine’s Habit – though you may be. Seek subtleties and reconsider how your choices determine your future. You may discover the intricacies of the actors’ choices reflected in your own existence. And if you think about those habits, your perspective on life might shift. Just a touch.

Presented by the Crossing the Line Festival and Performance Space 122

FREE and open to the public. No reservations required.
helpful hint: arrive early and stay a for at least two loops, or 3 hours

Sept 21 – 30 / 1 – 9pm daily
at Essex Street Market, Building B
130-144 Essex Street (btw. Rivington & Stanton Streets)


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