A back to school performance event, The Peanut Butter Show is a silly, sloppy, sadistic, and slightly dangerous school-wide assembly. **Attendance is mandatory.**
What is this play about? Who wrote this play? Why did they write it? Would you like to grow up without being able to write? Who is a greedy girl? What is a glutton? What is important about the sun and the moon and the wind and the rain and a bug and a bee and a — BELL BELL BELL BELL BELL BELL BELL.
Based on the deceptively simple yet rich language in “McGuffey's Eclectic Readers,” a series of textbooks used from the 1830s to today, The Peanut Butter Show amplifies some of the awkward and often grotesque techniques used to teach generations of Americans how to read, think and behave. Little Lord delves into the moralistic underpinnings of these books to explore how education is used as a tool of social conditioning -- along with other concerns such as the humiliating cult of puberty, the sadistic allure of shame, and whether or not it’s ever okay to poop with the door open.
Photos: Maria Baranova
Created by Michael Levinton and Little Lord
Directed by Michael Levinton
Performed by Kaaron Briscoe, Joshua William Gelb, Fernando Gonzalez, Polly Lee, Michael Levinton, Meg MacCary,
Morgan Lindsey Tachco, and Kate Weber
Sets and Lights...Marika Kent
Production Management...Conrad Kluck
Stage Management...Jackie Rivera and James Wyrwicz
Costume Associate/Wardrobe...Crystal Kovacs
This production has received developmental support as part of the 2018 Impact Residency Program of the Drama League and LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and through artist residencies with Drop, Forge & Tool in Hudson, NY.
The Peanut Butter Show was the inaugural production of Target Margin Theater’s Presenting Program at THE DOXSEE in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and was developed with support from Target Margin's Artist Residency Program.
This project was funded, in part, with support from the NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program), the Mental Insight Foundation, and the generous donations of over 300 individuals.
Presented by Target Margin Theater at The Doxsee (Brooklyn), October 2018.
Work-in-Progress showings: presented as part of WNYC’s variety show at The Greene Space (May 2018), Laguardia Performing Arts Center’s Rough Draft Festival (April 2018), and Target Margin Theater’s Grand Festive Opening (November 2017).
A savage piece for savage times.
The weirdest, funniest, thoughtful, and depraved take down of systems of education and group thought and complicity and shame.
- Moe Yousuf,
Associate Director Target Margin
Such a great, weird, insane, terrific show!
- Itamar Moses, Tony-award winning playwright
Never has peanut butter been so haunting.
– Ezra Bookman,
Artistic Director Lab/Shul
Another brilliant and beautiful show.
Fun and profoundly disturbing.
- Jeffrey Jones, playwright/curator
- KatieRose McLaughlin O'Neill, choreographer
The McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling. Additional source materials and inspirations for this production include V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic, the ephemera of one-room schoolhouses, the homeschooling manuals of faith-based organizations, the art of Petticoat Punishment, and children's musical "edutainment."
BEHIND THE SCENES: PLAY DEVELOPMENT
This project was supported by residencies with Drop, Forge & Tool, Drama League, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and Target Margin Theater.