Conversations with Theater Artist, Marty Pottenger

by Eloise de Leon - San Diego, California, In Motion Magazine Summer, 2001

"I first spoke with theater artist, Marty Pottenger, in her New York apartment in the winter of 1999 just before her production of "Winning the Peace." Still shaken by the war in Kosovo and by NATO's retalliatory 78-day bombing of Belgrade, Pottenger was determined to engage in whatever way she could. It was four months since the cease-fire in Kosovo, but the problems persisted -- Milosevic was still in power in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and thousands of displaced Albanians needed winter shelter.

Pottenger wanted to wake up her New York friends and neighbors to the fact that their community boundaries had been exploded by war. Pottenger explained, "People were so confused by the bombing. My conversations with people revealed isolation, fear and confusion, partially the result of reading newspapers alone, watching television news reports alone as well as the horrific and occasionally contradictory images and stories that were being reported."

To perform the text, Pottenger gathered 35 friends and family from her New York community, including a rabbi, a minister, a former Vietnam bomber pilot, electricians, union presidents, choreographers, AIDS workers, and even her carpentry clients. Caron Atlas, former director of the American Festival Project, and performer in "Winning the Peace," recounts the experience: "We met one another at the rehearsal and talked about why it was important for each of us to respond to what was happening in the former Yugoslavia. It was important for Marty that we listened to voices from Kosovo and Belgrade and to our own voices, in all of their multiplicity." Read full text

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Making CWT #3

by Marty Pottenger, High Performance magazine, Citizen Artist

Marty Pottenger is an artist, carpenter and contractor with more than 20 years of experience in performance art and the construction business. Her New York City multimedia project "City Water Tunnel #3" tells the story of the planning, building and financing of the largest non-defense public works project in the Western Hemisphere. Created in collaboration with the people and organizations who are building this five billion-dollar tunnel project,, Pottenger's artwork includes an Obie-winning solo theatrical production, gallery exhibitions, performances and video installations at the tunnel worksites, weekend fairs, story-swapping circles and water-tunnel-related activities for young people. Pottenger is currently working on a book for New Press about the building of the tunnel and the building of the arts project. Read full text

Marty Pottenger Flow

by Leslie Atkins Durham, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Fall 1999

As her 1996 multimedia, Obie Award-winning solo performance City Water Tunnel #3 opens, Marty Pottenger stands center stage, reciting an ode to water. In this moment, and throughout her work in general, Marty Pottenger is about flow-the flow of words, of energy, and of identity. Read full text

A Really Big Reason

by Catherine Jo, Community Arts Network

A widely known solo performance artist and director with an extensive repertoire of projects and awards, Marty Pottenger has found her "big reason." In fact, throughout her journey as a theater artist, she has encountered many big reasons. From the critically successful "What It's Like To Be a Man" to the Obie-award-winning "City Water Tunnel #3," Pottenger's work has explored issues ranging from racism to economics, the women's movement to the war in the Balkans. Intertwining different media and researching oral histories, Pottenger uses theater to encourage people to think about issues, ask questions and engage in dialogue with their communities. Read full text