“When the Sea Rises” was a collaboration between Harmattan Theater, martial arts performers and trance performers from Kerala, South India. I worked with a group of Kalaripayatti performers I used to train with, and collaborated with three Theyyem performers
to create what I saw as a dream sequence purging the now forgotten medieval history of the Fort Cochin seawall that winds its way down the bay into the open sea. The wonderfully gifted Muthu Muzhi and the divine performers Midhilesh, Similesh, Akhilesh, and Manish transformed this ancient sea wall into a powerful encounter between humans and the sea.
Performance at Tribute Park, Beach 116, Rockaway Park, October 2013.
Beach 116 is a street that was completely washed away by Hurricane Sandy. Its residents suffered much hardship and misery. Harmattan Theater produced Far Rockaway in collaboration with the community of Beach 116. This piece is a celebration of the street’s revival.
New York City is a refuge city. It is a city that has seen different sorts of displacements and always been a hospitable place for the displaced. With Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers transformed the city into a refuge city, opening their homes, couches, and offices to friends and strangers, providing convivial help where ever possible, at the junction of traffic light stops where the lights had stopped working, at corners of streets where stranded tourists sought directions, and at home where old acquaintances called seeking a safe bed for the night.
New York is a refuge city in ethos. It is a city that understands that disaster is a shared communal burden. How New Yorkers cope with large disasters never stops to impress.
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