PRELUDE Festival 2023
Academia and NYC Performance
Tomi M Tsunoda, Daniel Irizarry, Solana Chehtman, Alexis Jemal, and Sylvaine Guyot
Monday, October 16, 2023
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
What is the role of academia in the new landscape of theater and performance after Black Live Matters, We See You W.A.T., The Time of Corona and the Climate Catastrophe in a radically changing political landscape? Should academia mirror, theorize, reflect and document — or influence, shape and actively participate in the change we want to see? Featuring Tomi M Tsunoda, Daniel Irizarry, Solana Chehtman, Alexis Jemal, and Sylvaine Guyot.
Content / Trigger Description:
Tomi Tsunoda has spent most of her career as a director, deviser, designer, and producer of independent performance, developing sustainable systems for performing artists to self-produce work outside of institutional contexts. This included the creation of Breedingground Productions, which shepherded more than 200 projects over the course of ten years. She is one of 17 artists worldwide who are certified in all levels and disciplines to teach Soundpainting, the universal sign language for live composition created by jazz composer Walter Thompson. Her current projects combine both practical and critical work in dramaturgy, progressive arts pedagogy, fiber art, literary non-fiction, eco-philosophy, and facilitation, putting these fields into conversation as a way to address sustainable practice and systemic change. Tomi is currently serving as Chair of Undergraduate Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, having previously served as Director for Playwrights Horizons Theater School, Head of the Theater Program at NYU Abu Dhabi, Education Director for the Powerhouse Training Program at Vassar College, and as faculty and guest artist at several additional schools and conservatories.
Daniel Irizarry is a Puerto Rican born International Experimental Theatre director, actor/performer and educator based in NYC. His work embraces highly stylized visceral acting, pataphysics, a celebration of GERMS & consensual audience participation. He is the Artistic Director of One-Eighth Theater and full time Lecturer at MIT Music & Theatre Arts. In his most recent work, he directed and performed the final project for the historic closing of the New Ohio Theatre titled, ‘Ultra Left Violence’ written by Robert Lyons. Other notable credits directed and performed; The Maids by Jose Rivera (New York Times Critics pick); UBU by Adam Szymkowicz (Time Out NY Critics pick), world premiere of Busu by Mishima at Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, YOVO by Robert Lyons in NYC, Poland, Cuba, South Korea & My Onliness by Robert Lyons at New Ohio Theatre in NYC (One of the best performances Off-Broadway in 2022 by Theatermania and nominated for a 2023 HOLA award for best Outstanding performance by a lead actor. Over his career he has directed, performed and taught in Turkey, India, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, UK, Colombia, among others. Most notably at: Folkwang University in Germany, Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey and Seoul Institute of the Arts in South Korea. He holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University, a BA in Drama at The Universidad de Puerto Rico where he has returned to teach at both.
Solana Chehtman is a cultural producer and engagement curator born in Buenos Aires and based in New York City since 2012. She is currently the Director of Artist Programs at Joan Mitchell Foundation, where she supports artists with unrestricted funding and professional development through the Joan Mitchell Fellowship, as well as in their long term career stewardship via the Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program. In the past decade, Solana has partnered with a wide range of cultural organizations across the performing and visual arts to create new opportunities for artists and avenues for public participation in the arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as inaugural Director of Creative Practice and Social Impact at The Shed, and as Vice President of Public Engagement at Friends of the High Line. Solana received a BA in international studies at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, and holds an EdM in education policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She was an adjunct Professor at the MA in Arts Administration at Baruch College, City University of New York between 2018 and 2021.
Alexis Jemal, LCSW, LCADC, MA, JD, PhD, associate professor at Silberman School of Social Work-Hunter College, is a critical-radical so(ul)cial worker (practitioner, scholar, researcher, educator), social entrepreneur, and artivist who specializes in racial justice, radical healing, wellness, and liberation. Dr. Jemal grounds her research and scholarship in her Critical Transformative Potential Framework that develops critical consciousness and taps into radical imagination to convert consciousness into action that heals and transforms people, relationships, and environments to support everyone’s humanity to the fullest extent possible. This framework guides the development and implementation of multi-(from the molecular to the macro) level, holistic, socio-cultural, psychosocial, bio-behavioral health interventions that incorporate clinical practice, advocacy, and community and cultural organizing. She teaches courses at the master’s level in clinical practice, critical social work practice, and human behavior, and at the doctoral level in arts-based, participatory action, intervention research and public scholarship.
Sylvaine Guyot is Professor of French Literature, Thought & Culture at NYU, New York, since 2021. At Harvard University, Guyot acted as the Chair for TDM Theater, Dance & Media next to her tenure at the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures. As a theatre director, she co-founded La Troupe (Harvard) and Le Théâtre de l’homme qui marche (Paris, France). She is currently developing a lecture-performance on understudied early modern female writing. Her research interests focus on seventeenth-century tragedy and spectacle culture, the history of the body and emotions, the politics of performing arts, and the formation of cultural institutions. Publications include Racine et le corps tragique (PUF, 2014) and Databases, Revenues, and Repertory: The French Stage Online, 1680-1793 (MIT Press, 2021). She is a coleader of the Comédie-Française Registers Project. She has also published articles on contemporary docu-plays that tell the stories of the under- and unrepresented.
Tomi Tsunoda. Photo courtesy of the panelist.
Daniel Irizarry. Photo courtesy of the panelist.
Solana Chehtman. Photo courtesy of the panelist.
Alexis Jemal. Photo courtesy of the panelist.