PRELUDE Festival 2023
Future Visions: Provocations for the Next Performance Ecosystem
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
New York City’s performance world has always been advanced by independent creators pushing the boundaries of how, where and for whom we generate live-art experiences. This panel begins with a series of brief manifestos delivered by artists and makers fueling the next chapter of this story, followed by a moderated conversation.
Curated and moderated by Jess Applebaum and Nic Benacerraf of Edge Effect
Content / Trigger Description:
Edge Effect is a “think and do tank” that creates participatory experiences for individuals to share knowledge across personal, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries. Each project unites a polydisciplinary coalition of humanitarians in the creation of works that address the harmful aspects of our profit-driven culture. EE’s process is deeply rooted in the edge-blurring practices of devised theater, which fosters consensual collaboration, a generous and joyful workspace, critical self-awareness, and healing through antiracist and anti-patriarchal action. The resulting collaborations take shape as live performances, broadly construed: immersive theater, hoax storefronts, dramatic concerts and lectures, and more—all designed to live at the intersection of analysis, enigma, spectacle, and delight.
Jess Applebaum (she/her) is a dramaturg, community engagement coordinator, and public scholar whose 20-plus years of practice are rooted at the intersections of contemporary performance and social action. As a dramaturg, Jess works collaboratively with performance makers, academics, and activists to develop and facilitate creative processes. She believes that bodies perform knowledge, that process activates collective power, and that, together, they can inspire new pedagogical and civic practices. Jess is a founding partner of Edge Effect Media Group and an almost founding member of One Year Lease Theatre Company (OYL). Beyond these two companies, her artistic relationships include working with Panoply Performance Lab, composer/performance team Nathan Davis and Sylvia Milo, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat (KPB), directors Ashley Tata, Anna Brenner, and Simón Hanukai and choreographer Jody Oberfelder. Service to the community includes The Off-Off Community Dish, Brooklyn Commune, VP of Advocacy for LMDA, and conference committee member for CARPA8: Dramaturgies of Artistic Research at Uniarts Helsinki, which took place in 2023. Jess holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University, a MA in Performance Studies from NYU and has a PhD in the works from CUNY Graduate Center where she was a PublicsLab Fellow. Her scholarship on dramaturgy has been presented at the Prague Quadrenille’s special convening Devising Dramaturgy in 2014 and the conference Alternative Dramaturgies held in Tangiers, Morocco.
Nic Benacerraf (he/they) is a space-maker. As a director, scenographer, and scholar of live performance, he engineers consent-based systems and environments for genuine human encounters in theaters, galleries, concert halls, and streets. Nic is Founding Partner of Edge Effect Media Group, a polydisciplinary research and performance lab. For over a decade he was Founding co-Artistic Director of The Assembly, a Brooklyn-based theater collective dedicated to building slow-cooked works about pressing social issues. Nic’s scholarship uses dramaturgical strategies to unmask the field of Public Relations as the most efficacious genre of performance ever invented, and as the propaganda arm of the “capitalist, imperialist, white-supremacist patriarchy” (bell hooks). Currently, Nic teaches Directing at the Brown University / Trinity Rep MFA program. Nic received an MFA in Scenic Design from CalArts, and he is completing his PhD in Theatre & Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. Images of his design work can be found at http://www.nicbenacerraf.com/.
Ianthe Demos is the Artistic Director and a founding member of OYL, established in 2001. Ianthe’s work has received two Drama Desk nominations in NYC and a Stage Award in Edinburgh. Her directing work with OYL includes Kissing the Floor by Ellen McLaughlin, pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill, PEMDAS by Kevin Armento, and Balls by Bryony Lavery and Kevin Armento among others. Ianthe is a full-time professor in the International Performance Ensemble at PACE University and runs OYL’s acclaimed Summer International Program in Greece, Japan, and India. Ianthe has worked extensively in the arts management field managing dance companies on the international circuit as part of Selby Artists Management. Ianthe is currently working on a new adaptation of Medea by Meropi Papastergiou, a production of Ellen McLaughlin’s Oedipus, and a new work entitled WAKE written by Leon Ingulsrud and Brooke Shilling.
Jesse Cameron Alick is a dramaturg, producer, poet, playwright, essayist, artistic researcher, and science fiction expert. Jesse has been working in the nonprofit theater world for over 20 years, starting out as Artistic Director and Producer at a small independent theater company for 10 years and eventually working at the Public Theater for over a decade, in the final years as Company Dramaturg. Jesse is currently the Associate Artistic Director at The Vineyard and an active freelance dramaturg at various off-Broadway theaters in NYC, nationwide and internationally. Jesse studied writing with Adrienne Kennedy and has taught theater courses, lectured at classes, and mentored students at a myriad of programs, currently teaching at NYU.
Chie Morita (森田千恵 | she/her) is a consultant, creative producer, and consummate tinkerer dedicated to retraining our inherited habits and engineering empowering new systems in the arts. She is a Co-Founder + Partner of FORGE, a boutique consultancy devoted to helping artists and organizations forge a path toward success. By leveraging the potential of proactive planning, holistic mentorship, and collaborative asking, Chie seeks to free makers (and herself) from historical hindrances, socialized stereotypes, and negative self-stories. In New York, she has worked with Tony-Award-winning Broadway Producer Joey Parnes (on A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, End of the Rainbow), institutions including The Public Theater, Third Rail Projects, The Musical Theater Factory, The New York Neo-Futurists (who, under her care, were awarded three Drama Desk nominations), TriBeCa Venue Town Stages (where she created, curated, and managed the Sokoloff Arts Fellowship Program), brands including The Macallan and Art Beyond The Glass, and such independent makers and ensembles as Heather Christian and the Arbornauts, Dylan Marron, Edge Effect, Empowered Artist Collective, Statera Arts Mentorship: NYC, UglyRhino, and Fresh Ground Pepper. Alongside her work with FORGE, she proudly mentors young makers through We Are Queens, and her alma mater, Northern Arizona University, and serves as a collaborating producer with the Wonderland Historical Society in New Orleans.
Ximena Garnica is a New York City-based, Colombian-born immigrant working as a multidisciplinary artist, choreographer, director, curator, designer, and teacher. With her partner, Japanese artist Shige Moriya, Garnica is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the arts entity called LEIMAY, which means “a moment of light in the darkness” or “a moment of transition” in Japanese. Part of their work is created with the LEIMAY Ensemble, and their embodied practice LUDUS transmits the lineage of butoh dance and experimental visual and performing arts. They are invested in the entanglement from which culture and art emerge, and they value relationality, collaboration, and resource-sharing as primary to their praxis.
Their multidisciplinary works include dance, theater, sculpture, video, film, mixed media, and light installations, photography, training projects, stage performances, and publications. Their works have been presented at US venues such as BAM Fisher, the Brooklyn Museum, the Japan Society, the Watermill Center, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and internationally in Japan, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Colombia. They have maintained collaborations with renowned artists (Robert Wilson and Ko Murobushi) and they have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, NPN, NYSCA, and NEFA, among others. They were nominated for Herb Alpert and United States Artists awards. They have been reviewed in The New York Times, TDR/The Theater Drama Review, The New Yorker, and Hyperallergic, among others. They are part of the theater faculty at MIT and was recently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California Riverside. Their writing has been published by Routledge.
Garnica is an advocate of affordable live-work spaces. Their activism was instrumental in effecting changes at the New York state level to protect live-work spaces in New York City. More recently, Garnica, through LEIMAY, co-founded the Cultural Solidarity Fund, which has provided over $1 million in $500 relief microgrants to NYC artists and cultural workers affected by COVID-19. With her partner, they continue multiple organizing efforts to sustain what they call the “entanglement,” a loose knot, cluster, or constellation of relationalities—an intention to live a life in poetry.
Beto O’Byrne hails from East Texas and is the co-founder of Radical Evolution, a multi-ethnic, multi-disciplinary performance collective based in Brooklyn, NY. The author of 20 plays, screenplays, and original TV pilots, his works have been produced in and developed in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, and San Antonio. O’Byrne is an advocate and organizer interested in creating solidarity between labor, arts, and antiracist/anticapitalist movements. In addition to his theatre work, O'Byrne is the creator of the political punk rock outfit, A Revolutionary Chorus, and the World of Kir, a high fantasy creative writing project. Radical Evolution is a multiethnic producing collective committed to creating artistic events that seek to understand the complexities of the mixed-identity existence in the 21st Century. We believe that visibility and representation for the fastest-growing demographic in our nation - those who identify as more than one race or ethnicity - is crucial to live performance. We incorporate people from a variety of backgrounds into our creative process, with a focus on people of color, to seed the field of experimental and collaboratively created theatre with practitioners that celebrate the intersectionality of perspectives and aesthetics of the city around us. Through this approach, we work to assert a vision for cultural and social equity in our field, city, and nation.
Marisol Rosa-Shapiro / Marisol Soledad is a cultural worker, theater artist, educator, facilitator, and curator. Her acting and directing work have appeared on stages across the USA, in Philadelphia, NYC, Seattle, Boston, Miami, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Alaska. Marisol has worked as a teaching artist for many theaters, arts education initiatives, and community-based organizations across the country. She is a tenured teaching artist at the New Victory Theater in NYC where she developed The Seven Ravens Project as part of the LabWorks program for new works, and made her Off-Broadway directorial debut with Spellbound Theater’s Wink in the spring of 2023. As a member of TYA/USA’s BIPOCin TYA Advisory Board, Marisol co-facilitated spaces for members of the global majority working in TYA and supported the creation of TYA/USA’s Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Futures guide for the field. She has also served as Director of Community Engagement for Shakespeare in Clark Park, and as Community Coordinator for Theatre Horizon's production of Town. Marisol is a volunteer performer, educator, and board secretary for Clowns Without Borders USA, who help build resilience through laughter with people experiencing displacement due to natural and human-made disaster across the globe. In recent years, she has been selected as a Colleen Toohey Porter Fellow with TYA/USA, a Jim Rye Fellow with International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), a National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute Fellow, and a Target Margin Theater Institute Fellow. Her work has received support from the Network of EnsembleTheatres, Cannonball Festival, Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation and Marrazzo Family Foundation, and Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Marisol is a graduate of Princeton University and of Helikos International School for Theatre Creation in Florence, Italy. She was born and raised in NYC, where she continues to create and teach. She currently resides in Philadelphia.
Jess Applebaum. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Nic Benacerraf. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Ianthe Demos. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Jesse Cameron Alick. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Chie Morita: credit Taylor Cooley_Katie LaMark.
Ximena Garnica. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Beto O’Byrne. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Marisol Rosa-Shapiro / Marisol Soledad. Photo courtesy of the artist.
www.edgeeffectmedia.org IG: @edge.effect.media