Film & Video

Vomitorium 2004: Make Room for More

5 min

Whether truth or myth, word has it that during the decadent times of the Roman Empire, wealthy citizens threw opulent parties, where guests engaged in consuming astounding amounts of food and, when stuffed to the limit, vomited so that they may gorge themselves again and again. On August 17, 2004 three NYC artists and a cast and crew of 62 ordinary people performed a recreation of a Roman orgy to draw parallels between Roman Empire and the over-consuming and wasteful culture of the present day American Empire. The piece was performed at St. Mark’s Church on the eve of the Republican National Convention, which ignited a wave of creative protests around New York City.

Combining footage from the performance and candid interviews with performers and observers, the short documentary creates a portrait of this unique performance piece. As the performance was unscripted and no official rehearsals took place, the film explores the relationships between the performers and their choice of character and the blurring of the boundary between the character and the self that occurred on stage, as the performance took shape in front of a mostly shocked audience. The film also touches on the subject of theatre as a form of political protest.

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