May Joseph (Founder & Artistic Director): Tanzanian born Joseph is the Founder of the environmental collective Harmattan Theater. Joseph has dramaturged and directed Harmattan’s site specific outdoor productions, exploring the history of New York City through architecture, design and environmentalism. Islands, the Hudson River, riverscapes, ocean currents, sea walls, buried rivers, wetlands, bridges, and the impact of water across global urban environments are Joseph’s areas of interest. Joseph has created large scale public performances on Governors Island, numerous piers in Manhattan including Christopher Street, as well as along Fourteenth Street in Manhattan. Joseph’s artistic work includes cities in India, where she made a short film about the Yamuna River in Delhi, and is working on a site specific performance along the Fort Cochin seawall.
Joseph trained in Directing and Playwrighting at U.C. Santa Barbara’s Department of Theatre and Dance where she received a PhD in Theater. Joseph’s directorial interests lie in bringing together ritual, movement, mime, voice, images and text into dialogue with shorelines, rivers and cities. Trained as a Bharata Natyam dancer, Joseph’s work draws upon the Indian environmental dance theater traditions of the Jatra, Chautu Nadagam and Indian street theater movements, Kalaripayyati, Kathakali, Kyogen and the experimental techniques of Arianne Mnouchkine and Christo. Joseph is the author of Fluid New York, Nomadic Identities and Co-Editor of Performing Hybridity, City Corps, Body Work and New Hybrid Identities. She teaches theater, film and visual culture at Pratt Institute, New York. www.mayjoseph.com www.fluidnewyork.com
Sofia Varino (Associate Director) is a multimedia visual artist, writer, academic and producer based in Berlin. Born in Portugal in 1978, she has lived in New York, London, Lisbon, Western Australia and Norway. She holds Master’s degrees in Theater and in Cultural Studies, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Cultural Analysis & Theory Department at Stony Brook University in New York. Her theoretical and artistic research focuses on living bodies, scientific culture, biology, geography and biopolitics. Her artwork is conceptual, participatory and collaborative, with projects spanning video, choreography, painting, installation, text and conversation pieces. www.thelivingmachine.com
Victoria Marshall is an Assistant Professor of Urban Design at Parsons the New School for Design at the New School, New York. She is an India China Institute Fellow 2010-2012 and the director of the BS Urban Design Program, the first undergraduate urban design program in an art and design school in the nation. Her scholarly focus linking urban design, drawing and ecology is present in her teaching as well as TILL, a Newark based landscape architecture and urban design practice which she founded in 2002. She is a member of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Urban Design Working Group, a Long Term Ecological Research project sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Marshall received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of New South Wales and Masters of Landscape Architecture with a Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at that school as well as Columbia University, Harvard University, Pratt Institute and the University of Toronto. Design Portfolio Parsons Urban Design Department
Nandini Sikand: Born and raised in New Delhi, Nandini Sikand is an Odissi dancer, anthropologist and independent filmmaker. She is the co-founder and co-director of her dance company, Sakshi Productions (www.sakshiproductions.org), a neo-classical and contemporary dance company. Her work has been funded by LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council), the Asian American Arts Alliance and Joyce Soho (subsidized rental program) in NYC, and combines the use of film imagery, live music and elements unique to Indian theatre and performance. Nandini Sikand is an Assistant Professor of an interdisciplinary film and media studies program at Lafayette College, PA.
James Cascaito (Dramaturg, Performer) is an Italian-American poet and translator, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages at the Fashion Institute of Technology of S.U.N.Y. in Manhattan. James holds a Ph.D. in Italian literature from Columbia University, with a dissertation on the gay love poetry of Sandro Penna. His most recent book publications are: the English translation (with Bertoletti and Casson) of Multitude: Between Innovation and Negation by the Italian political philosopher, Paolo Virno (2008); and a collection of his own poetry, respite (2009). He is a member of the San Miguel de Allende (México) Center of International PEN and he serves on PEN’s International Committee on Translation and Linguistic Rights. James is also the Commissioner for Linguistic Rights of the Chicago Network for Justice and Peace.
Lisabeth During is a philosopher at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She was educated at Wesleyan University, Kings College London, and Trinity College Cambridge, where she wrote a doctoral thesis on Hegel. After 18 years teaching at universities in Sydney, she returned to New York and is writing a book abut chastity. Her only other experience in the performance field was as a Director of the Performance Space, Sydney, Australia, and a ‘player’ in Tino Sehgal’s ‘This Situation’ (Marian Goodman Gallery NY, 2008).
David Van Leer (Dramaturg, Composer) is Professor of English and Gay Studies at the University of California, Davis. An accomplished pianist, vocal coach, and choral and orchestral conductor, he made his television musical debut at seven. Since then he has been involved in many productions of musical comedies and operas. Writing widely on American culture for both academic publishers and magazines like The New Republic and The Times Literary Supplement, he is the author of Emerson’s Epistemology: The Argument of the Essays and The Queening of America: Gay Culture in Straight Society. He is the editor of Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Tales and book review editor of the Journal of Bisexuality. Van Leer is currently completing a book-length manuscript called “Notable Selves: Personal Identity and Music.”
Margaret Dessau is a life artist entering the second half of her centennial life cycle, having studied lots of natural sciences and the arts, traveled widely to all the continents, practiced medicine, creative writing and photography and hopefully learned a bit by looking and listening to the endless strangeness of it all. She was spiritually drawn to this Theater’s ritualistic performances along rivers and skies collaboration and hopes to contribute creative ideas, enjoying working with other multitalented artists.
Marcy Chevali is a studio artist working in sewing thread, fibers, tea, sugar, turmeric and water drawn from a nearby river. She arranges these things into accurate representations of the events occurring in her life. She then follows them, as if diagrams, learning about her original situation from the inherent behaviors of her chosen materials. She does this in order to navigate the world around her. www.marcychevali.com
Khadeejah A. Grey will graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in 2012 with a concentration in the arts and Women’s Studies. She has most recently performed in 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane at Sarah Lawrence and as Artemis in Hippolytus at Barnard College. She first worked with Harmattan Theatre in Dreamscapes in the summer of 2010. She loves ensemble based experimental work. A painter and writer as well as a theatre artist, her creative work has appeared in Red Ink Magazine.
Jose De Jesus: Sculptor, painter, designer
Puma Perl is a poet and fiction writer who believes strongly in the transformative power of the creative arts. Her work has been published in over 100 print and online journals and anthologies. Her first chapbook, Belinda and Her Friends, was published in 2008 and recently was awarded the Erbacce Press 2009 Poetry Award; a full length collection, knuckle tattoos, will be published early in 2010. She performs her work in many venues, in and out of New York City. Recent features include Stain Bar, Cornelia Street Café , the Riverwood Poetry Festival, Middleton CT – Outlaw Night, and the HOWL Festival.. She lives and writes on the Lower East Side and has facilitated writing workshops in community based agencies and at Riker’s Island, a NYC prison.
Adam Kuruvilla is a young actor and model in New York City. His training includes a classical education at the Manhattan School of Music under Neil Rosenshein, stagework at Brown University, Horton Technique at the Ailey School and mentorship from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He is proud to be part of this new work and thanks May, Geoffrey, Celine and all of his beautiful family.
Martin Gak (Composer, Musician): Argentinian born Martin Gak is a philosopher and Tango Accordian player. Gak has a PhD from the New School and released a new music album this summer. Gak composed the original arrangement for Harmattan Theater’s Henry Hudson’s Forgotten Maps production at the FIGMENT festival in Governor’s Isand, 2009. Gak teaches Continental Philosophy at Pratt Institute.
Marjorie Tesser is a poet. She is editor of Bowery Books, an independent poetry press, and publisher and editor of The Mom Egg, a journal. Her work has appeared in anthologies, journals and ‘zines, and is forthcoming in Future Earth 2. Her manuscript, The Important Thing Is… was the winner of the inaugural Firewheel Chapbook Award, and will be published by Firewheel/Sentence in 2009. She produced the Bowery Women: Shoot the Poem!, with assistance from the Center for Experimental Television, and her videopoems have been shown at the Howl Festival of East Village Art. She is on the board of trustees of Four Way Books.
Latha Rampersad is a trained Carnatic classical vocalist. She sings light music in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam. Rampersad recently performed Bollywood songs in NYC at the Sakhi Annual Fundraiser. She teaches Carnatic Classical basics and also does stage performances and voice-overs. Rampersad has done radio commercials for a South Asian radio station. She is a member of the Harmattan Theater group of New York City. Links: Music Profile, Light Music Demos, Voice Over Demos.
Gavin Hopper ( Musician, Composer): As a jazz trained guitarist living in New York City, Gavin is involved in several projects as both a leader, sideman, and composer. As a solo musician, Gavin plays numerous pieces from his own composed ideas linked through improvisation allowing for freedom and growth from the surrounding energy. Gavin also works with other composer’s pieces arranging them into a similar outfit.
CA Scott (Designer): An award-winning Art Director and Graphic Designer, internationally exhibited fine artist, celebrated media theorist, and DJ with a reputation for genre-spanning sets, Corey Scott’s creative praxis confounds categorization. Scott’s interest in the indeterminate and indissoluble relationship between personal and cultural memories resurfaces throughout his diverse portfolio, samples of which can be viewed online. Links: Design Portfolio, Fine Art Portfolio, DJ/Music Blog.
Russell Patrick Brown shares his unique blend of original stories, songs, dances, cirque performance and harp/piano/electronic music all throughout New York City, nationally and internationally. He’s performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The New York Irish Arts Center, Weimar New York at the Abrons Arts Center, House of Yes, The Box, Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club and The Chelsea Symphony and has worked with many leading pop and musical theater talents on stage and in the recording studio. He holds his degree in music from the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music and is a certified Dalcroze Eurythmics Instructor. www.russellpatrickbrown.com