Opening, event, 2018

The Playhouse Theatre, currently closed for almost 10 years, has been described as the first theatre in the round to be ever built in the world (1951). In 1997 it was modified into a pseudo proscenium arch resulting in a new seating capacity--80 seats were simply concealed below the boards of the new stage area. On Saturday, August 25, 2018, from 5-7 pm, I reopened the Playhouse Theater for a one night only event. That Saturday, 80 temporary employees were hired as actors from Pacesetters Personnel Services--a company which, according to its advertisements, “recruits, dispatches and transports workers for temporary general labor assignments”--to perform (in) an opening that was staged at the Playhouse.

This event was conceived around an area near my former studio in Houston that encompasses three sites—an encampment of temporary domiciles erected in 2016 by people living under the highway 59 spur; the storefront “labor hall” of Pacesetter Personnel Services, a company that negotiates temporary work between employers and laborers, which rented a building one block away from the encampment in view of it later that year (2016); and the Playhouse Theater, designated as a historic landmark and currently closed.

Currently, these labor halls, such as Pacesetter, mainly negotiate labor between workers and online platforms. For this specific branch most of them are hired for daily jobs at Amazon warehouses. This work aims to look at U.S. state policies towards decentralization that were prevalent after the second world war and has its results felt until today: dispossession and precarization of labor.

Review by Francesca Fuchs here.