October 11-27, 2012 and March 14-17, 2013


In October 2012, Polybe + Seats produced a new site-specific show presented by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, the Navy Yard’s new cultural center and museum. After having to cut our run short due to Hurricane Sandy, we were invited back to BLDG 92 for four more performances in March 2013. 

Written by Avi Glickstein and directed by Jessica Silsby Brater, this specially commissioned play was the first-ever theatrical production at the Navy Yard!

As mentioned in the New York Times' Spare Times column!

"Polybe + Seats’ A HISTORY OF LAUNCHING SHIPS takes preconceived notions about sea yarns, theatrical experience, and even one’s concept of time, and upends all. [It is] not merely a play, but a theatrical experience."

- NYTheater.com

“The production reframes artifacts like giant anchors and blown-up nautical photography as stunning set pieces and finds dynamic spatial choreography in the building’s balconies, stairwells, and windows.”

- Culturebot

All seats are $18 and are available at SmartTix.com

limited tickets may be available at BLDG 92 starting half an hour before each performance, cash only.


March 14-17

Thursday-Sunday at 8pm


The Brooklyn Navy Yard

63 Flushing Avenue (at Carlton Street)

Brooklyn, NY


Directions are here




Press: interview with Avi Glickstein and Jessica Silsby Brater on Culturebot and review on NYTheatre.com. NYTheatre.com's Fall 2012 Preview - click here to read some thoughts from playwright Avi Glickstein, producer Catherine Wallach, and set designer Carolyn Mraz.


About the Show

In the winter of 1779, a woman named Elizabeth Burgin defied New York City’s British occupiers by helping hundreds of patriots escape from prison ships anchored offshore of what is now the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With a bounty on her head, she fled the city. A History of Launching Shipsjoins Burgin during her flight from the British and places her in the middle of a fantastical tale that echoes the gothic stories of Washington Irving. The play, written for the unique environment of The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, tells the story of the three women who take Burgin in and hide her. Each woman seeks an escape from her own reality, and, together, they realize that the only way to freedom might be on a ship they build themselves. 

This site-specific production will lead audiences through the three-floor museum over the course of the performance, stopping to watch scenes among BLDG 92's exhibits. The Yard’s spirit and elements of its history act as seeds for the play’s mysterious story of four women isolated together inside the gates of a Naval Commandant’s home on the banks of an unnamed bay. Playwright Avi Glickstein has used the story of real-life Revolutionary heroine Elizabeth Burgin and archival materials from BLDG 92’s collection, as well as the gothic New York tales of Washington Irving, as a jumping-off point to create a uniquely American, ghostly tale of his own that echoes the Yard’s history as a center of innovation, reinvention, and sacrifice in service of a larger purpose.

The team

Playwright: Avi Glickstein

Director: Jessica Brater

Producer: Catherine Wallach

Performers: Elaine O’Brien, Kate Reilly, Sarah Sakaan, and Lindsay Torrey

Designers: Carolyn Mraz (set and props), Bevan Dunbar and Karen Boyer (costumes), Marika Kent (lights), Kate Marvin (sound and music)

Stage Manager/Assistant Director: Alyson Fortner

Consultant: Stacey McMath

Production Manager: Marika Kent

Graphic Design: Kevin Gillespie




Digital copies of the script available for sale through Indie Theater Now.


Accessibility notice:

This performance will involve some walking and standing on the part of the audience;

ramps and elevators will be available.