The Object Lesson


Good Neighbor Program Directions Accessibility Calendar

By Geoff Sobelle
Directed by David Neumann
Scenic Installation Design by Steven Dufala

2016/17 Season

January 31, 2017—March 19, 2017

Read Synopsis

Actor-illusionist-inventor and NYTW Usual Suspect Geoff Sobelle’s “virtuosic” New York Times Critics Pick The Object Lesson comes to NYTW for a strictly limited engagement. This tactile installation turns the theatre into a storage facility of gargantuan proportion where audiences are free to roam and sift through the clutter.

Sobelle transforms this makeshift attic into a space of reflection and wonder as he unpacks our relationship to everyday objects: breaking, buying, finding, fixing, giving, losing, winning, trading, selling, stealing, storing, collecting, cluttering, clearing, packing up, passing on, buried under… a world of things.

The Object Lesson is a meditation on the stuff we cling to and the crap we leave behind.

The Object Lesson runs approximately 100 minutes with no intermission.

  • Creator/Performer

    GEOFF SOBELLE is a theatre artist dedicated to the “sublime ridiculous.” He is the co-artistic director of rainpan 43, a renegade absurdist outfit devoted to creating original actor-driven performance works. Using illusion, film and out-dated mechanics, R43 creates surreal, poetic pieces that look for humanity where you least expect it and find grace where no one is looking. R43’s shows include: all wear bowlers (Innovative Theatre Award, Drama Desk nomination), Amnesia Curiosa, machines machines machines machines machines machines machines (OBIE award – design), and Elephant Room (commissioned by Center Theatre Group). His independent work includes Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl (Edinburgh Fringe First Award) and The Object Lesson (Commissioned by Lincoln Center3, Bessie Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Carol Tambor Award, Total Theatre Award, NYTimes Critics Pick). He has been a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company since 2001. His projects have been supported by the MAP Fund, the Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Wyncote Foundation, US Arts International, the Princeton Atelier and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is a 2006 Pew Fellow and is a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. Geoff graduated with honors from Stanford University and trained in physical theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

David Neumann / Director

David Neumann  is a director, choreographer, dancer and actor.  He studied theater at SUNY Purchase and danced with several choreographers including Doug Elkins, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers and Doug Varone.  Neumann founded his own company, the Advanced Beginner Group in 2001, with work presented at PS122, New York Live Arts, Central Park Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn, Symphony Space, and The Kitchen.  Neumann and company have been honored with four Bessie Awards, a 2009 Creative Capital Grant, a 2011 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award for Dance and a 2014 NDP Production Grant from New England Foundation for the Arts for his work I Understand Everything Better.

Steven Dufala / Scenic Installation Design

Steven Dufala is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia. While Steven works primarily in collaboration with his brother Billy, he also aims to work
on as many other projects in as many other fields as possible. He makes drawings, clothes, furniture, prints, music, sculpture, photos, books, and thinks
an awful lot about what all these things have in common. With his brother Billy, he received an Obie Award for design with rainpan 43’s machines machines machines machines machines machines machines. Steven and Billy co-teach sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and are represented by the Fleisher/Ollman gallery in Philadelphia.

Christopher Kuhl / Lighting Design

Christopher Kuhl is a lighting, scenic, and installation designer for new performance, theatre, dance and opera. Recent work includes: The Elephant Room (St. Ann’s Warehouse); Straight White Men (Young Jean Lee’s Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, Kaai Theater, Centre Pompidou); The Institute of Memory (The Public, T:BA Festival); Citizen (Reggie Wilson Fist and Heel, BAM); The Source (BAM); Dog Days (Prototype Festival, REDCAT, LA Opera); ABACUS (Early Morning Opera, BAM, Sundance Film Festival, EMPAC). He has received two Ovation awards, a Sherwood, a Drammy, a Horton award and the 2014 and 2015 Bessie awards for Outstanding Visual Design. He is originally from New Mexico, a graduate of CalArts, and an associate artist of Hand2Mouth Theatre.

Nick Kourtides / Sound Design

Nick designs for musical theatre and creates sound environments for collaborative ensemble works. Previously with Geoff Sobelle: Elephant Room, Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl. New York: Sunset o639 Hours (Joyce), Object Lesson (BAM Next Wave), Elephant Room (St. Ann’s), Our Aeneid (Red Bull), Carson McCullers Talks About Love (Rattlestick), Jomama Jones * RADIATE (Soho Rep), Chekhov Lizardbrain (Under The Radar, Soho Think Tank). International: Lublin Konfrontacje Teatralne, Paris Quartier d’Ete, London Barbican, Edinburgh Fringe. Regional: McCarter Theatre, Wilma Theater, Center Theatre Group, Folger Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Prince Music Theater, and many others. With Pig Iron Theatre Company: Cankerblossom, Isabella, Chekhov Lizardbrain, Mission to Mercury. Visiting Instructor in Sound Design at Swarthmore College in 2010.

David Parker/The Bang Group / Dance Choreographer

David Parker is director of David Parker and the Bang Group, a New York rhythm-based theatrical dance troupe; has toured widely throughout Europe and North America, and appeared at dozens of festivals, universities, and performing arts centers. Faculty: Juilliard, since 2009; Alvin Ailey School, since 1999; Barnard College, since 2005.

Steve Cuiffo / Illusion Consultant

Steve Cuiffo creates unique performance, art, theater and magic. His work incorporates aspects of sleight of hand, misdirection, imitation and re-enactment. Theater credits include: Queen of the Night (as Sarastro); Elephant Room (with Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford); Spirit Wife (with Eleanor Hutchins); Steve Cuiffo IS Lenny Bruce AT “Carnegie Hall” (St. Ann’s Warehouse). Steve is a two-time Princeton University Atelier recipient artist.  He is also on the Board of Directors for the Conjuring Arts Research Center in New York.

Jeff Larson / Production Technical Director

Jeff Larson is a designer, curator, and educator.  Jeff designed projections for I Used to Love You, part of the upcoming Martha Graham Dance Company season at The Joyce Theater.  Jeff co-curates the Obie award-winning performance series, CATCH (  Jeff has taught at NYU’s Design Department for Stage and Experimental Theater Wing and has served as a visiting faculty member at Bennington College.  He is currently the Resident Designer and Production Manager at Hamilton College.


Jecca Barry / Creative Producer

Jecca Barry is an opera and theatre producer. She is the General Manager of
Beth Morrison Projects, an opera production company that commissions, develops and produces new opera-theatre and music-theatre works. Recent and upcoming productions include Breaking the Waves (PROTOTYPE); The Source (BAM, LA Opera, SF Opera); Song from the Uproar (LA Opera), Real Enemies (BAM, Holland Festival), Aging Magician (Walker Art Center; New Victory Theater). Jecca holds degrees in contemporary flute performance from The Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, UK) and New York University.

Justin Rose / Assistant Director

Justin Rose is a Philadelphia based director and performer. Recent on stage credits include: Let the Dog See the Rabbit (Lightning Rod Special). Always Coming Soon: The Future (Brat Productions). 99 BREAKUPS (Pig Iron Theatre Company). The Douglas/Poins in Henry IV (Shakespeare in Clark Park & Team Sunshine). The Balladeer in The West (Alex Bechtel Producer/Director). Co-founder and co-artistic director of The Candidatos, a two-man theatre company that performed their most popular show, I’m Sorry & I’m Sorry at the New York Clown Theatre Festival, Dublin Fringe, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Advanced Performance Training Program.

Lisa McGinn / Stage Manager

Recent credits include: The Object Lesson (development through tour); Chimera and The Wholehearted (Stein Holum Projects), The Light Years and Jacuzzi (The Debate Society), Eager to Lose and Game Play (Ars Nova), Revolt . She said. Revolt Again; Winners and Losers (Soho Rep), How to Build a Forest (PearlDamour + Shawn Hall),The Perfect Play (Banana Bag and Bodice). Regional credits include: Trinity Repertory Company, Two River Theater, George Street Playhouse, Passage Theatre.


RAIR is a nonprofit organization that builds awareness about sustainability issues through art and design. Situated inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company in northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists studio space and access to more than 350 tons of materials per day. Since 2010, RAIR has provided a unique platform for artists to work at the intersection of art, industry and sustainability, while producing content that challenges perceptions of waste culture.




Listen to creator and performer Geoff Sobelle chat with NPR’s “All Things Considered” about the creation of THE OBJECT LESSON and the relationship people have to “the stuff” in their lives.


Last summer, the New Museum hosted a four-floor exhibit called "The Keeper" that housed over 4,000 collected objects. Get a look behind the expansive exhibit that investigated the items we keep and why.