"They were normal bourgeois theater,
domestic triangle situations.
That's why I called my theater "Ontological-Hysteric,"
because the basic syndrome controlling the structure was a classical,
boulevard comedy syndrome, which I took to be hysteric in its roots."
The Ontological-Hysteric Theater (OHT) was founded in 1968 by Richard Foreman with the aim of stripping the theater bare of everything but the singular and essential impulse to stage the static tension of interpersonal relations in space. The OHT seeks to produce works that balance a primitive and minimal style with extremely complex and theatrical themes. The core of the company's annual programming is Richard Foreman's theater pieces, of which he has made over 50 in the last 42 years.
Since taking up its home at the Ontological Theater at St. Mark's in 1992, the OHT has nurtured a new generation of artists who share Foreman's goals and passion for theater. Through internship, staffing, summer residencies, the Obie Award-winning Blueprint Series, and other curation efforts, the OHT was a starting point for many artists making their mark in New York City and internationally including David Herskovitz, Artistic Director of Target Margin Theater, Damon Keily Artistic Director of American Theater in Chicago, Radiohole, Elevator Repair Service, Pavol Liska, NTUSA, as well as Richard Maxwell, Sophie Haviland, Bob Cucuzza, DJ Mendel, Ken Nintzle and Young Jean Lee.
Since 1993 the emerging artists program at the Ontological took many forms, including the Obie-winning Blueprint Series for emerging directors. In 2005, the OHT reorganized the programs under the name INCUBATOR, creating a series of linked programs to provide young theater artists with resources and support to develop process-oriented, original theatrical productions. By 2010, the program had quadrupled in size, involving a range of artists and increased support. The programs included the centerpiece Residency program for premieres, two annual music festivals, a regular concert series, a serial work-in-progress program called Short Form, and roundtables and salons aimed at keeping Incubator artists involved year-round. In May, 2010, the Incubator received an OBIE grant.
In early 2010, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater announced that it would leave its permanent home, St. Mark’s Church, and that the Incubator would take over the space and operate year-round. The Incubator Arts Project grew out of the Incubator, and now operates in the former Ontological Theater. Visit incubatorarts.org for more information.