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Written by Ellen Maddow
Directed by Katie Pearl
Choreography by Faye Driscoll
Lights and Set by Lenore Doxsee
Costumes by Kiki Smith
Stage Manager Joan Cappello
With: Randolph Curtis Rand, Mary Shultz, and Paul Zimet
2010: October 7–23, HERE Arts Center, NYC

The Talking Band presents a theatrical world as timeless as moneylenders, as new as credit default swaps, and as dangerously volatile as the swings of the stock market.

Three traders — Ruth, Rubin, and Silverman — sit at a table swapping and bartering objects with encoded values, receiving orders and instructions by earpiece, and attempting to stay ahead of the ever-changing numbers that broadcast swings in the market.

As they get caught in unpredictable swells and currents that they have no control over, their place in it all becomes clear:  they are outsiders – middlemen who bear all the responsibility and none of the power. In exploring their relationship to each other and their society, this unique theatrical piece explores the profound impact of lending, trade, debt, and finance in our culture.


“Breathtaking … poetic … endlessly imaginative … and very deep …

‘This is the way it works.’ This phrase—an oft-repeated mantra in Ellen Maddow’s new play Panic! Euphoria! Blackout—offers as apt a summary as I can find of what this fascinating piece has to tell us. Maddow, one of the co-founders of the invaluable indie theater troupe The Talking Band, has mashed up the diary of a Jewish businesswoman from the 17th century and her own observations of Wall Street traders of the present day with a variety of artistic/cultural constructs (including the story of Abraham and Isaac) to reflect on the endless cycle of barter and finance that propels our daily world.”

– Martin Denton,


“The old avant-garde provocateurs have still got it! With Panic! Euphoria! Blackout, now premiering at HERE, the creative team known as The Talking Band takes on the
economic roller-coaster ride of the past decade with wit, polish, and plenty of well-placed jabs.”

– Sandy MacDonald, Theatermania


“willful obscurity”

“If only the hotshot bankers who drove the global economy off a cliff had been playing with marbles instead of credit default swaps. Or merely trading tangible things, like shoes and loaves of bread and gallons of cider. The world might look a whole lot different today.
These and other mordant reflections arise as you watch “Panic! Euphoria! Blackout.”

– Charles Isherwood, The New York Times