The NOLA Project Show Archive

Get This Lake Off My House

Get This Lake Off My House: Our Tempest
Written and Directed by Andrew Larimer
June 2006: The Old Pontchartrain Beach site

Donald Lewis, Jr.: Mayor Rospero
Alex Martinez Wallace: Officer Steve
Ashley Noel: Jones Miranda
James Bartelle: Calvin
Justin Scalise: Gonz, A Nurse; Frank; Mayoral Opponent
Laura Ramadei: Alice, A Med Student; Adrienne; Sally, Debate Moderator
Michael P. Cahill: Albert, A Doctor
Nick Kocher: Tim Trink, FEMA Official
Richard Alexander Pomes: Officer Arlie
Will Connolly: Ferdinand

Nick Frederick: Set Design; Stage Manager; Technical Director; Sound Technician
Laura Ramadei: Costume Design
Brigham Hall: Original Music

Get This Lake Off My House: Our Tempest is an original play that explores the beauty, humor, frustrations, and love found in New Orleans from Katrina through the 2006 mayoral elections. Truth and fiction blur to tell the stories of a mayor, a doctor, a pair of young lovers, and a comedic trio of unlikely pals. The performance takes place near the site of the old Pontchartrain Beach, invoking the lake's resonance as the water that filled our city.

some personal history…

As late as the spring of 2006, The NOLA Project’s future was still unsure. The city of New Orleans was in the beginning stages of recovery and the damage to the city’s theatres, though significant, was dwarfed by the sheer disaster that had wiped away entire residential neighborhoods. Much of the population had not returned, and we weren’t sure any of the remaining residents were really looking for summer entertainment. A move to Chicago was considered, as were several other possibilities, when Andrew came to the company with a bold proposal for an adaptation of The Tempest set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Among his many ideas, including the decision to perform the play in the questionable waters of Lake Pontchartrain and the decision to perform the play free of charge, was perhaps the boldest proposal: That GTLOMH would be funny.

A few weeks later, a script was produced, and plans for a three-show summer were finalized. Andrew’s dad Robert had relocated to Chicago and Cathy, his mom had moved up to Tennessee and rented out her house to another family. This time around was far dirtier. Sand and dirt from rehearsal were constantly being tracked through Robert’s house, of which the entire company was now squeezed in to. Most lived on the upper floor, as the bottom floor had suffered flood damage and was in the process of replacement. After each performance, the audience would follow directions from the beach back to the house to share personal Katrina stories with one another and the company members in a communally cathartic process. With the no-charge tickets, audiences grew exponentially each week, many times returning with friends, always willing to generously donate to the company, despite the financial straits many found themselves in.—A.J. Allegra

I seldom experience theater, as a performer or spectator, that displays the urgency, immediacy, and sense of community that "Get This Lake Off My House" did in the summer of 2006. On every level, GTLOMH was a labor of love: Every day we crammed 8 or 9 people into Andrew's pick-up truck to get to and from rehearsals; We carried giant wooden platforms on and off the beach for every performance; We moved giant boulders to create our "space" and a walkway for spectators; We did it all before sundown; We battled through spider bites and sunburns unlike anything you've ever seen; We performed through wind storms and the occasional bloody-headed, drunken wanderer; And we did it all for donations. By the end of the run, as we performed for hundreds of people on the beach of Lake Pontchatrain, through the sounds of their laughter and tears, there was no question whether it was all worth it. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.—Will Connolly

One of the first plays performed during the city's incredible recovery, the first original play written about the events following the storm, and also the first play I ever did in New Orleans, Andrew Larimer's Get this Lake off My House: Our Tempest was an incredible experience. The show was done at sunset on the beach of Lake Pontchartrain where families could gather, enjoying boiled crawfish and beer. After each show, we would invite audience members to the NOLA Project house where they could share their own stories of evacuation and the return home. These discussions had a very profound impact on me and we would spend these evenings laughing, crying and everything in between. This post-show atmosphere was maybe the most powerful part of the experience, very cathartic for these people, and also an incredible way to be welcomed to New Orleans. It was with this show that I saw for the first time how theatre could be used quite selflessly creating an enormously positive effect for such a beautiful community.—James Bartelle
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