Unburden yourself: The Object Lesson at Bard

(Photo by Craig Schwartz)

(Photo by Craig Schwartz)

For conspicuous consumers and pack rats, the obsessive/compulsive, the anal-retentive, the disorganized and the merely untidy, ’tis that dreaded time of year when we must clear out a year’s worth of accumulated “stuff” from our dwellings in order to make room for new Christmas acquisitions (or just to invite people over without shame). If you are a prisoner of your own possessions but find clutter-elimination experts more terrifying than clowns or zombies, maybe you need to see Geoff Sobelle’s much-lauded theater piece The Object Lesson.

The one-man show will be performed on Thursday through Saturday, December 17 through 19, at the black-box-style LUMA Theater in the Fisher Center at Bard College, where Sobelle is a faculty member when he isn’t being co-artistic director of the “renegade absurdist outfit” rainpan 43 or a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company and core teacher at the Pig Iron School. The Object Lesson is described as “a funny, sweet and meticulously crafted examination of our relationship to the many objects we encounter during the course of our lives” and “a performance that unpacks our relationship to everyday objects: breaking, buying, finding, fixing, trading, selling, stealing, storing and becoming buried under a world of things.”

Originally commissioned by Lincoln Center’s LCT3, The Object Lesson won the 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design “for creating an immersive environment built from the material debris of an individual life. For sparking curiosity in the audience about the need, meaning and weight of their own lives’ objects.” The Guardian called it “a hugely enjoyable, highly intelligent, ultra-connected meditation on our attachment to the past – old things and emotions, maybe even friendships, that we don’t actually need.” The Bard production will be performed by Sobelle and directed by David Neumann, with scenic installation design by Steven Dufala.


Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 17 through 19, plus a 2 p.m. Saturday matinée. Tickets cost $45 general admission, $15 for students and children (suitable for ages 8 and above), and can be ordered online at https://fishercenter.bard.edu or by calling the box office at (845) 758-7900. The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts is located on the Bard College campus, at 60 Manor Avenue just off Route 9G in Annandale-on-Hudson.