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Why do we eat? Why do we stop eating? This solo autobiographical show travels from early childhood experiences of queerness and lessons on body image to a college eating disorder to the present challenges of eating and living in a human body. I'm Smiling Because I'm Uncomfortable is a site-specific show that takes place in real kitchens., Emma tells her story to an audience sitting in and around the kitchen while she cooks stir-fry and pops popcorn. The show premiered on September 8th, 2017 in a kitchen in NYC and so far as traveled to kitchens in Maine, San Diego and a dorm-sized kitchen at Dickinson College as part of "Love Your Body Week." Our performances in San Diego as part of the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival won Outstanding Site-Specific Performance! 


"I'm so excited to present Emma's story, which is a narrative that's not being told right now, in people's kitchens to create an intimate theatrical experience.” Sean Pollock, the co-director of the production, remarked as to why the show is staged in such an unconventional way. “I figured that if we could tell a story about binge eating disorders anywhere, it would be in kitchens--a place so commonly associated with food, but seeing theatre in a kitchen is also sort of an uncomfortable experience because it's so unusual, and discomfort is such a central theme of our show.”

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Written and performed by

Emma Howard

Directed by Sean Pollock and Hana Mastrogiacomo

Produced by Alyssa Berdie 


New York, NY (2017, 2018)

Bangor, Maine (2017)

Dickinson College (2018)

San Diego, CA as part of the International San Diego Fringe Festival (2018)

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