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Work Samples

Cleveland

Cleveland
Cleveland, directed by Carly J. Bales, written by Mac Wellman commissioned for the Late Night Theater Series. #1, Top Ten Stage of 2016 (City Paper): “[Carly Bales is] our DIY theater’s most go-for-broke performer, who appears to have encouraged the cast to reach for the preposterous—and then see what might lie just on the other side of that.” "The most ridiculously absurd stage experience of the entire year"

The Maids

The Maids
Genet’s “whirligig of being and appearance” has spun out of control, pieces of his text have flung away like accessories in a manic cosplay, and the remembrance of the outside world is failing. The Maids was directed by Ric Royer for Psychic Readings Company. Original text derived from Jean Genet. Performances: Psychic Reading (Baltimore) and Secret Project Robot (Brooklyn). Performers: Carly J. Bales, Nicolette LeFaye, and Kyra Evelyn.

Sin Eater

Sin Eater
Sin Eater ​ Created and performed by Carly J. Bales. Strange intimacy and transgression transference. Closeness in the open. Participants are asked to pay a small fee. In exchange, the artist will eat their sins and absolve them of any guilt. Over time, the residue of the sins accumulate into a new form and body. Commissioned solo performances at: Labbodies Retrospective, Fields Festival, and Current Gallery’s Of screens, remainders, and holds... 2016

1-800-MICE

1-800-MICE
1-800-MICE Co-Writer/performer. Commissioned to adapt the Matthew Thurber cult comic series for Annex Theater. Directed by Sarah Jacklin. “One part American wholesomeness, one part latent oblivion, and two parts holyfuckingshit. [...] This play may be as close as some of us will ever come to seeing a Jack Smith theater/performance piece in the flesh.” “[Bales’ performance] rides the knife’s edge that separates the deadly serious from the utterly preposterous, where you laugh at reality’s absurdities to keep from flinging yourself under a bus”

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About Carly

Baltimore City

Carly J Bales is a performance artist and arts organizer based in Baltimore. Her work explores femininity and gender dynamics, power and control, intimacy and strangeness, through performance, and often, a healthy dose of humor in media ranging from live performance and experimental theater to video and film. Since 2010, she has become "DIY theater’s most go-for-broke performer" and "an integral actor/performer in both the city's do-it-yourself theater and experimental performance art communities."... more

1-800-MICE

I was commissioned to adapt this play from Matthew Thurber's cult comic series, 1-800-MICE, alongside director Sarah Jacklin. This expansive and psychedelic comic series was transformed into a free-wheeling, anticapitalist satire seeped in dream logic and inspired by the aesthetics of exploitation film and the Theater of the Ridiculous. I also performed the role of Aunty Lakeford, a new-age megalomaniac bent on cultural dominance and immortality.

  • “One part American wholesomeness, one part latent oblivion, and two parts holyfuckingshit. [...] This play may be as close as some of us will ever come to seeing a Jack Smith theater/performance piece in the flesh.
  • [Bales’ performance] rides the knife’s edge that separates the deadly serious from the utterly preposterous, where you laugh at reality’s absurdities to keep from flinging yourself under a bus
  • "Taking on the challenge of adapting and staging a bizarre comic with a cult following like 1-800-MICE was a risk, but it is one that paid off beautifully. 1-800-MICE is a smart, absurd comedy that manages to be thought-provoking and topical while hurtling you through space at the speed of a meteor headed straight for Earth. Loosen your grip on narrative realism and go take this ride."

    Presented at the Annex Theater, November - December 2016. Baltimore, MD

  • 1-800-MICE

    1-800-MICE
    Show art and documentation from 1-800-MICE

Stupid Ghost

I directed this world premiere from Chicago-based playwright, Savannah Reich. Walking the knife's edge between comedy and horrific tragedy, this piece was heavily inspired by teen melodrama films of the 1950's - 1980's, screwball comedies, and the different ghosts that haunt each of our lives. Featuring ghosts, doomed girls, dance numbers, possessed mothers, and the 1985 hit song, Head Over Heels.

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The Ghost lived in the woods, Minding Her Own Business and definitely Not Haunting Anyone, until one day she saw a Pretty Girl and followed her home. It totally wasn’t even a thing. The Girl was probably not even going to notice.

Stupid Ghost is a dark comedy about ruining the lives of the people you love.

Presented September 2016 - October 2016 at Annex Theater. Baltimore, MD.

Cleveland

I directed this dark, genre-bending comedy written by Mac Wellman. Part after-school special, part sci-fi horror, the play was like riding the waves of late-night television straight into outer space. Commissioned for the Late Night Theater Series.

  • #1 Play | Top Ten Stage of 2016 | Baltimore City Paper
  • [Carly Bales is] our DIY theater’s most go-for-broke performer, who appears to have encouraged the cast to reach for the preposterous—and then see what might lie just on the other side of that.

Presented March 2016. Psychic Readings. Baltimore, MD.

  • Cleveland

    Cleveland
    Mother-daughter bonding between actors Cricket Arrison and Madison Coan.
  • Cleveland

    Cleveland
    A mysterious man. Played by actor Evan Moritz.
  • Cleveland

    Cleveland
    A gaggle of wholesome teen girls.

In Taking Space

A durational, movement-driven performance piece commissioned for ROOM, an exhibition of oversized inflatable sculptures, at MICA.

The piece explored the body taking physical space as an inherently political act -- both oppressive and emancipatory -- in response to the pure geometry forms in ROOM. The piece invited itself to evolution or deterioration over the night. Audiences asked to come and go, touch and not touch, witness or ignore. The performers at times slammed their bodies together, climbed atop each other, or became ensconced within the same oppressive structures within the space. The interactions became struggles between independence and dependence, power and weakness, failure and success, the individual and the group. The living sculptures they created rose and fell, supported and antagonized, ebbed and flowed.

Co-created with dancers Noelle Tolbert and Alex D'Agostino.

April 2016. ROOM exhibition. MICA. Baltimore, MD.

  • In Taking Space

    In Taking Space
    Performers Carly J. Bales, Noelle Tolbert, and Alex D'Agostino created living undulating structures in the space of the exhibition.

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Carly's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.