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The End of the World Bar and Bathtub: A Beginner's Guide

On March 27th, we went to the home of Emma McFarland, a dramaturg and writer living in New York, to perform The End of the World Bar and Bathtub. She wrote about the experience, for those of you a little uncertain about bringing a person into your own bathroom (we don't blame you). *Spoilers below.*

Probably the last place you would want to come face-to-face with your mortality is in your very own personal bathroom. But that is exactly what will happen if you invite the immensely talented Philip Santos Schaffer to turn your ordinary bathtub into The End of the World Bar and Bathtub.

As soon as you book a performance of Philip’s one-man show, a number of questions will occur to you: Should I clean my bathtub? Yes (it probably needs it anyway). Lid up or down on the toilet? I went with down (a good choice as it was turned into a seat). Should I empty my bathroom trash bin? I didn’t (it was fine). Should I light the bathroom candle? I did (white pine).

Philip arrived slightly early to prepare the space with another member of his production team. In our case, it was Audrey Frischman who also directed The End of the World Bar and Bathtub. After a brief (lovely) chat with Audrey in our living room while Philip prepared, we were ushered into the bathroom. Each performance must be performed for two, and only two, audience members. This enforced intimacy masks a slightly sinister motivation because at The End of the World Bar and Bathtub, it is truly the end of the world and only one of you has the opportunity to survive.

The (shower) curtain opens to reveal Philip who welcomes you to his tub (by offering you a cup of tea or maybe a cup of noodles) and cordially explains that the world is about to end and that the only safe place to ride it out is in that very bathtub. Unfortunately, it only fits two and Philip isn’t giving up his seat. You and your co-audience-member have gathered there for an informal “getting to know you” conversation; an interview for the apocalypse. You see, if Philip is going to spend the rest of civilization (and the time after) with you, he wants to make sure that you can hold a decent conversation.

Yes, this means that Philip will be talking directly to you and yes, you are expected to answer. But fear not! Philip is a sparkling conversationalist who asks insightful, incisive, and sometimes profound questions. The anecdotes that come up are often funny, but you’ll find yourself thinking about who you would want to ride out the end of days with and how you would pick, who you would leave behind, and what you would leave for the people who might evolve after.

As Philip says, there are many pros and cons of living in a bathtub.

Emma enjoys reviewing things! Mostly books, sometimes theatre. You can find more of her writing at @emma._____.dilemma

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