September 12–15, 2019
In 2016, theater director Kaneza Schaal and award-winning author for young people Christopher Myers flew to Munich, Germany, as 30,000 people were arriving in the city each day in the largest migration in recorded history. Listening to the stories of young refugees, they pondered how to create an artwork that placed all of us within this historical moment.
Combining simple storytelling with interactive video technology (audiences shape the onstage video projections with their own cell phones), Cartography maps the perilous physical journeys and the confusing interior journeys which brought four young people from their old homes to their new ones. Performed by a diverse company of actors from El Salvador, Syria, Lebanon, and Rwanda, this is theater for our times, theater for all ages, theater at its most relevant.
The performance on Sunday, September 15 at 3pm will be a relaxed performance.
Make sure to check out the companion installation piece, Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas at Christ Church Neighborhood House, the FringeArts box office, and Cherry Street Pier.
“A wonder of theater-making… Cartography is a unique live documentary about young people searching for asylum as harrowing times and hostile environments overtake their lives.” DC Metro Theater Arts
Member discounts available
Produced by ArKtype
The SPARK Series is made possible by a leadership gift from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.
Cartography was made possible by a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation, and is a co-commission of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, and Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH, with additional development support provided by Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Canada and Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Developed as part of New Victory Lab Works at The New Victory Theater in New York City. This play was workshoppedand presented as a rehearsed reading in April 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of New Visions/New Voices 2018.
Conceived and Created by Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers Created in Collaboration with Performers Noor Hamdi, Victoria Nassif, Janice Amaya Directed by Kaneza Schaal Written & Designed by Christopher Myers Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann Lighting & Production Management Chelsie McPhilimy Interactive Video Design Joshue Ott (US) with Pierre Depaz, Grace Huang, Andrija Klaric, and Mateo Juvera Molina (NYU Abu Dhabi) Technical Direction Cheyanne Williams Stage Management Kendall Allen Producing Consultancy Jane Jung
Photos by elmanstudio.
Cartography: Community Conversation
Sept 14 at 4pm at the Fringe Festival Bookstore at Cherry Street Pier
Featuring a Cartography cast member Janice Amaya and Ari Gutierrez-Sanchez (Puentes de Salud), moderated by Ahmet Selim (CAIR PA).
Suspended Lives/ Vidas Suspendidas
Sept 5 – 22 at Cherry Street Pier
In Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas, Latinx artists from across Philadelphia shed their favored mediums and reclaim the piñata as a common cultural construction. What emerges are life sized self portraits embodying Mexican iconography and kinetic self realization.
A companion piece to the FringeArts curated piece Cartography, Vidas Suspendidas is an exploration of the immigrant narrative set in liminal space. A restoration of latinidad as not only a politically charged identity, but a mystic existence. Together, the Vidas Suspendidas artists dissect their common obstacles, and celebrate their individuality through sculpture and story.
About Kaneza Schaal
Kaneza Schaal (Co-Creator) is a New York City based theater artist. Her recent work JACK & showed in BAM’s 2018 Next Wave Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and with its co-commissioners Walker Arts Center, REDCAT, On The Boards, Center for Contemporary Art Cincinnati and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Schaal received a 2018 Ford Foundation Art For Justice Bearing Witness award, 2017 MAP Fund award, 2016 Creative Capital Award, 2008 Princess Grace George C. Wolfe Award, and was an Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage. Her last project GO FORTH premiered at Performance Space 122’s COIL Festival and then showed at the Genocide Memorial Amphitheater in Kigali, Rwanda; LMCC’s River-to-River Festival; Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans; Cairo International Contemporary Theater Festival in Egypt; and at her alma mater Wesleyan University, CT. Schaal’s work with The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service, Richard Maxwell/New York City Players, Claude Wampler, Jim Findlay, and Dean Moss has brought her to venues including Centre Pompidou, Royal Lyceum Theater Edinburgh, The Whitney Museum, and MoMA. Schaal is an Arts-in-Education advocate and has collaborated nationally and internationally with recent teen immigrants and asylum seekers; on intergenerational exchange between elders and teens; and on workshops and talks at Princeton University, Yale University, Emerson College and her alma mater Wesleyan University, CT.
About Christopher Myers
Christopher Myers (Co-Creator) is an artist and writer who lives in New York. While he is widely acclaimed for his work with literature for young people, he is also an accomplished fine artist who has lectured and exhibited internationally. His practice can be divided into two categories, interventions in historical narratives and work crafted with artisans from around the globe. Christopher’s work has been exhibited at PS1/MoMA, and included as part of Greater New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Prospect Biennial in New Orleans and Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai. Myers has curated shows in Vietnam, designed theater that has travelled from PS122 in New York City to the Genocide Memorial Theater in Kigali, Rwanda and collaborated with Hank Willis Thomas on a short film Am I Going Too Fast which premiered at Sundance. Myers participated in the Whitney Independent Studio Program and recently opened his solo exhibition “Let the Mermaids flirt with me” at Fort Gansevoort Gallery in Manhattan.
About ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann (Producer) is founder and president of ArKtype, an industry leading management and production company specializing in new work development and touring. For nearly 15 years ArKtype’s work has grown to encompass renowned artists from twenty different countries, multiple genres and commercial and non-profit support structures resulting in new work for a variety of spaces. His acclaimed work as producer has been seen worldwide and includes projects with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Brook, Daniel Fish, Victoria Thiérrée-Chaplin, Yael Farber, John Cameron Mitchell, Anna Deavere Smith, Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar, Lisa Peterson, Peter Sellars, Julie Taymor, and Tony Taccone. For three seasons he produced the Ringling International Arts Festival in Sarasota, FL, was Director of Programming for Spiegelworld’s South Street Seaport season, and most recently served as Director of Programs at New York Live Arts. Recent premieres include Sam Green & Kronos Quartet’s A Thousand Thoughts, Nora Chipaumire’s #PUNK100%POP*NIGGA, Compagnia TPO’s Colors (Kennedy Center, March 2019), Big Dance Theater / Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Man in a Case, Byron Au Yong & Aaron Jafferis’ Trigger, Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen’s How to be a Rock Critic , Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Theater’s Not By Bread Alone, The Freedom Theatre of Jenin’s The Siege, and Andrew Ondrejcak & Shara Worden’s You Us We All. Ongoing collaborations include the above as well as 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Bryce Dessner, Daniel Fish, Brent Green, Rude Mechs, and Noche Flamenca. Upcoming premieres include, Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) to be featured as part of Kennedy Center’s DirectCurrent 2019, and 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s Death of a Salesman. More info at arktype.org.
About Janice Amaya
Janice Amaya (Performer) is a Salvadoran-American actor and oral historian based in New York City. She is a founding member of The Hummm, a theater collective whose aim is to democratize the experimental. Recent theater credits: Tell Them I’m Still Young (American Theater Group), Bloodworks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Matchstick Series (Pipeline Theater Company), The Prizefighter of P.S. 217 (New Victory Theater), Your Hair Looked Great (Abrons Arts Center), A Good Farmer (American Theater Group). Film: Patriot’s Day (Lionsgate, Dir. Peter Berg). She holds an MFA from the Moscow Art Theater and Harvard University.
About Noor Hamdi
Noor Hamdi (Performer) is a New York-based actor originally from Chicago, and he’s absolutely thrilled and honored to be part of Cartography. He’s a recent graduate of the William Esper Studio and has participated in various projects in New York since moving here, most recently having performed at Signature Theater in “Between Fire and Smoke” as Rivin. Particularly, Noor loves involving himself in work that focuses on Middle Eastern people and their diaspora, being the son of Syrian immigrants and feeling very attached to his cultural background. In addition to acting, Noor is also an aerial silks artist, ESL teacher, and proud polyglot.
About Victoria Nassif
Victoria Nassif (Performer) feels so lucky to be a part of this work. New York: Bullet Catchers (Judson Memorial Church), Measure for Measure (New York Classical Theatre), Artaud/Artaud (New Plays Now @ Signature). Regional: Kiss (Yale Rep), R&J Damascus (TheatreSquared), Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Doctor’s Dilemma (American Players Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); The Taming of the Shrew, Henry V (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); King Lear (Great River Shakespeare Festival). BFA Southern Methodist University. Love and thanks to her ever supportive family and friends.
FringeArts: What interests you about the perspective of youth and young migrants specifically?
Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers: Young people are at the forefront of this historical moment. These kids live across time zones, digital platforms, and languages; between memories and imaginations and a communications web that stretches from the bomb shelters of their former schools to European job training programs to cell phone videos of their cousins. Centralizing the exchange between young people allows all of us to better understand the ‘in-between-ness-es’ that are central to lives in motion.
FringeArts: What do you look for in your collaborators? What do they bring to the work?
Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers: The strongest tool of an ensemble is the culture of the group. We look for people who assemble a vast lexicon of creative, cultural, formal, historical, aesthetic languages from which to create. We look for people who are fun
FringeArts: What characteristics did you look for in the performers? What themes and ideas do you discuss in the rehearsal process?
Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers: I look for desire. A desire to be seen, a desire to communicate, and a desire to think about big questions.
NYUAD’s ‘Cartography’ seeks a greater understanding of the plight of refugees by Melissa Gronlund in The National (UAE)
Cartography is a sui generis mix of high-brow allusions—to Homer’s The Odyssey, among others—and a politically inflected reconsideration of both theater’s intended audience and its formal parameters.
Technology, for example, becomes not a gimmick but a way to echo elements of the refugee experience.
Cartography work-in-progress preview