Photo: Si Golraine


Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer – International Culture Lab / Si Golraine


Coney Island USA

James Fitzsimmons, Executive Director

Adam Rinn, Artistic Director

Patrick Wall, Technical Director

Dennis Catalfumo, AV Master

PRODUCTION DESIGN:  Kate Dale, Si Golraine, Alix Martin

GRAPHIC/POSTER DESIGN:  Si Golraine, Emma Pesin

COSTUME CONSULTANTS:  Kate Dale, Si Golraine
PRODUCTION CONSULTANTS:  Liz Leighton, Emma Pesin 
STAGE MANAGERS: Audwin Gathers, Freddie Moldanado, Robert Prichard


AC Chan, Aída Miró, Alessia Secli, Alex Law, Amy Berk, Anjoli Chadha, Bob Lyness, Charlotte Hendrickson, Emma Pesin, Erika Hassan, Iren Kamyshev, Jeans Gallo,  Julie Hunkert, Katharine Doughty, Liz Leighton, Luna Gionenella, Rachel Finan, Si Golraine, Wharton Tract, Yauheniya Ramanovich, Zoë Tirado

Click here for bios


“The Revolution is Here” (Stairs) — Erika Hassan and Bob Lyness

“Cut Piece” Yoko Ono Homage (Museum) — Madame McDew
“Post-It Revolution” — Si Golraine
(Museum) — Art.irkA

“Elaichi and Alana’s Tea Party” (Museum) — Alana & Elaichi (cardomom)

“ānanda” (Annex) — AC Chan

“the apple, the mirror and the egg”   (Annex) — Katharsis

“The Black Freighter” (Annex) Moxie Battles 

“Metamorphosis”  (Theater) — BitterSweet

“Inner Visions”  (Theater) — Aida

“A Game” (Theater) — Pupu

“Like What You See”  (Freak Bar) — Frankie

“Mary Magdalene” (Freak Bar) — Jeans Gallo

“SWIPE” (Funhouse Mirrors) — Qupid



Madam&Irka – Concept and Choreography: Iren Kamyshev; Music: Ben Juodvalkis; Costume Design: Si Golraine; Special thanks: Alix Martin


the apple, the mirror and the egg – Costume by Sushi; special thanks to Cliff Odle


SWIPE – Featuring Kuhuk Goyal


Cothurni Construction – Russell Busch


Music –
Act 1: 
You Can’t Wake Up if You Don’t Fall Asleep by Jarvis Cocker (“Metamorphosis”); Elegie by Feodor Chaliapin and November 25: Morning by Kronos Quartet (“A Game”)
Act 2:
Cadence by Jonathan Michael Fleming; Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire; The Revolution will not be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron; The Revolution will be Painted (various artists, incl. Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer); Angel of Death by Slayer

Immerse yourself in a brothel, a theater, a house of illusions… 
discover who you are in who we are

International Culture Lab (ICL) and Coney Island USA (CIUSA) have formed an ensemble of dancers, performance artists, actors, musicians, and visual artists who are devising an original evening of theater and art.


Our project is inspired by Jean Genet’s classic play, The Balcony, in which artistic directors Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer first met in 1980 playing Roger and Chantal. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, Genet’s work explores themes of power, patriarchy, identity, and illusion. It posits that theater is the prime metaphor for our politics, for the masks we wear in society, and for the very nature of our human condition. 


In the play, sex-workers in a brothel – what Madame Irma calls her “House of Illusions” – satisfy client fantasies. In our production, art-workers probe their own fantasies to create an immersive theater experience throughout the expansive Coney Island USA facility: the Sideshow Stage, the Freak Bar, the Museum, and the Annex, including the interior and exterior passageways between these sites.


Beyond the mainstage performances, drawn directly from the story of the play, the ensemble is fabricating performance/art installations in “brothel rooms.”  Each performer has devised a persona and a scenario that creatively explores their shadow self. Audiences are invited to wander and experience the fantasies of “Madame Irma’s working girls.”


These personas have also created art — both objects and services — that they offer for purchase to individual theatergoers via a menu.


Artist as the escort into the art $$$ brothel. Theatergoer/art patron as the client, voyeur, and arbiter of value.


Ritual Cabaret Art Brothel takes Genet’s timeless work and interprets it for a contemporary audience that routinely traverses misinformation, challenges to stereotypes of gender and power, TV-star heads of state, crafted social media and dating app profiles… and the “arms race” in artificial intelligence to create the perfect mirror of human thought and behavior.


As Madame Irma instructs the audience on leaving her House of Illusions, “You must now go home, where everything – you can be quite sure – will be falser than here.”


Ritual Cabaret Art Brothel was made possible by the generous support of:
IndieSpace “Pay Your People” Grant, Anonymous, John Baumann, Jeff Birnbaum, Sasha Chavchavadze, Brenda Fisher, Jade Frost, Bob Lyness, Eva Melas, PK (Ram) Ramani, Mike Spratt, Paget Walker, Sue Yocum