Dreamscapes. Pier 64, Manhattan, 2010.

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Performers: Khadeejah Gray, Sofia Varino, James Cascaito, Melissa Elledge, Dil Hoda, Margaret Dessau. Dir. May Joseph. Photos Joshua Kristal.

At Diaz Beach, retracing a journey of slavery and forgetting…

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Cabo de Tormentoso. at Cape of Good Hope. Dir. May Joseph. Performers Shereen Kimmie, Saligha Gool. Wrenching History Back from the Abyss

Future of Water

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Mortal discourses with angry God of the Sea

“MAR PORTUGUES” Directed by May Joseph, Harmattan Theater. Lisbon, Portugal, 2012.

“When The Sea Rises” Directed by May Joseph, Harmattan Theater. Cochin, India, 2011

“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.

Far Rockaway, Harmattan Theater

Far Rockaway, Harmattan Theater

Francis Bradley, Lisabeth During and Nandini Sikand perform at Tribute Park, Far Rockaway, 2013, on Hurricane Sandy anniversary.

Far Rockaway, Harmattan Theater

Far Rockaway, Harmattan Theater

Performance at Tribute Park, Far Rockaway, anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, 2013.

Far Rockaway Performance, Harmattan Theater

Far Rockaway Performance, Harmattan Theater

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.

Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination

Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination

Fluid New York is a memoir of New York City between Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg’s mayorship. It is an exploration of archipelagic New York, the city of many islands, more than the five boroughs we are customary used to thinking about. The book explores the forgotten and buried water traces of the city.  It connects quotidian practices to the hidden ecological memory of the city’s past. An ancient pond, an old river bed, a former swampland, are all now part of what we call New York City. Yet, how people use these now transformed sites have uncanny and sometimes, conscious connections to this forgotten ecological past. The most evocative of these environmental traces is New York’s forgotten shoreline. Hurricane Sandy dramatically reshaped New York’s relationship to this palimpsestic shoreline perpetually transformed through its Native American, Dutch, British and American land reclamation techniques. Fluid New York is a wake up call to rethink the implications of island cities. New York is an accident of water. It is a city vulnerable to storm surge. Its archipelagic structure demands new ways of thinking about its future growth. 

Refuge City

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.