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Written and Performed by Heather Harpham

October 2011


HAPPINESS distills the emotional marathon of caring for a perilously sick child into a lyrical narrative that swerves into ethereal landscapes. Mother, child, and doctors morph into Lana Turner, guiding groups through purgatory, where Gandhi exalts and laments an earth that is excruciatingly beautiful as it is inexplicably cruel. Teetering on the razor thin edge between pathos and humor, HAPPINESS finds absurdity and redemption in the smallest details: a nurse’s soft hands; a child’s re-fashioning of medical tubes into puppets; a late-night ambulance ride on worn tires. Happiness considers the body as social object, medical subject, commercial commodity, and spiritual artifact. The piece explores the euphoria and fear that we face as physical beings both fragile and resilient. Ultimately, HAPPINESS leads us from the delicate, ailing baby in the incubator to a young girl merrily dancing an Irish jig.



“Heather exudes dynamism on stage; she captures the audience with her rich storytelling, coupled with humor and wit,

and a beautiful physicality that incorporates song, gesture and dance.”

Shelley Molad,


“Beautiful, moving and funny…”

Kathmandu Post


“Heather possesses a shining talent as a performer.”

Ruth Zaporah, Founder of Action Theater


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HEATHER HARPHAM (performer/playwright) is a writer and performer of physical theater whose solo performances have been presented widely in New York City venues including Dixon Place, St. Mark’s Dance Space, Dance Theater Workshop, The Looking Glass Theater (as a 2009 Space Grant Recipient) and on Theater Row. Her solo Happiness has played in festivals on both coasts, was presented by Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program, and played internationally as part of the annual Kathmandu Theater festival. Harpham is the recipient of an Independent Artist Grant from the Marin Arts Council, the Brena Ueland Prose Prize and the Herbert Rubin Award for Creative Writing. As a core member of the physical theater ensemble, Company SoGoNo, she received a nomination for a New York Innovative Theater award for The Art of Memory. As a long time teacher of physical theater and improvisation, Heather has led classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York University, The Pratt Institute, Manhattanville College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oglethorpe University among others. She holds an MFA in Theater and a MA in Creative Writing, both from NYU.

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