The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Orlando Pabotoy
October 10-12th, 2019 at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Black Box
The NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Program’s ninth fall production, directed by NYU New York Affiliate Faculty Orlando Pabotoy and performed by students from across the university.
Set in a dispute over land claimed by two communes in the Soviet Union after World War II, The Caucasian Chalk Circle was written by the 20th century German playwright, director, and theorist, Bertolt Brecht.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with students of the NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Program. Most of the actors in the production did not have formal singing training before, so learning the music written by Fabian Obispo, presented somewhat of a challenge at points. Given the short amount of rehearsal time, there was no other option but to expect professionalism from the students. Everyone really came together at the end and delivered a great performance. In this rehearsal process, I learned about the value of trusting in others' abilities and will power to work hard.
A Woman's Prize by Arianna Stucki
Directed by Sebastian Grube
April 19 & 20th, 2018 at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Black Box
There’s an old story we have all forgotten. Shakespeare’s infamous woman-tamer Petruccio has just remarried the sweet, demure Maria after he murdered his first wife, Kate. Maria reveals quickly that she is not all he deems her to be, and through understanding her own nature, sets out to claim her legacy against his oppression.
A Joint-Capstone, directed by Sebastian Grube and written by Arianna Stucki, A Woman’s Prize is a 30-minute play that utilizes song, Old Irish, and immersive storytelling. This play asks us all to consider an alternative narrative in which women reclaim and reshape their mythologies, remembering the female names and stories lost to history.
A Woman's Prize has challenged me in ways I could have never imagined when I started to embark on the journey in Spring 2017. The piece was the culmination of four years of studying theater and music at NYU Abu Dhabi and it constituted my Capstone project. What will forever surprise me is the dedication and time people have put into this piece. Somehow the number of people getting involved seemed to grow steadily. I have learned a lot about leadership and collaboration in this process. Thanks to my collaborators and friends, I challenged my artistic ideas and convictions and with everyone's input, we created an impactful piece of theater. While the entire process was a big learning experience, I must say that the week of Tech rehearsals was the most exciting and terrifying. The moment when everything was supposed to come together, I found myself the most lost and had to really focus to pull everything together. As it turns out, the hardest thing is not to have a list that one just checks, but really to see the piece with fresh eyes every time. That is definitely a skill I am looking forward to developing over the next couple of years. Please look at the program of the show to see who has worked on this show.
The Aeneid by Olivier Kemeid
Directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde
November 15, 16, 17 & 18, 2017 at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Black Box
Olivier Kemeid’s version of Virgil’s classic tale migrates Aeneas’s search for a homeland into the modern world of Middle East revolution.
Under the helm of celebrated American director Sarah Cameron Sunde, a cast of NYU Abu Dhabi students brings to life the rhythmic prose of Egyptian-Canadian playwright Olivier Kemeid, translated by Judith Miller, who captures the anxiety, danger, and shaky fellowship of the refugee experience. (NYU Abu Dhabi website)
The Aeneid gave me the opportunity to observe a professional director for the first time. I fully involved myself in the process and tried to find as many opportunities for me to be of use as possible. Sarah was wonderful to work with because she was very open to thoughts I had. She was also always open to any questions and asked for my feedback. Working as Assistant Director allowed me a view of a holistic theatrical process that did not only involve acting. In fact, I loved working as Assistant Director precisely because one has a broad view of the process. In the course of the production, I was able to see how one can juggle the different theatrical and production elements.
It was incredibly useful for me to see Sarah's different processes of working with actors, designer, and the production team. I was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to work directly with actors and the musician in the production. Once we moved into the space of the theater, I wrote down Sarah's notes during runs and tech rehearsals. Especially during tech rehearsals, I was able to give some notes to the actors whenever Sarah was needed elsewhere. In addition, I was often in charge of teaching the choreography of moving set pieces to actors. Overall, my work as the Assistant Director was a great experience and I am excited to see more people work in the future and see how my own work is influenced by them.
Me Before Me
Directed by Sebastian Grube & Arianna Stucki
Performed by Kylie Hogrefe, Harrison Morre, Skye Pagon & Haley Sakamoto
Archivist: Keira Simmons
Me and Before Me uses Anna Deavere Smith’s interview performance technique, lines from the works of William Shakespeare, and the narrative of the Irish/Scottish folk-story, The Selchie Bride. Special thanks to the casts’ parents and family for their willingness to be interviewed, as well as to the storytellers in the Gaeltacht of Ireland for sharing their stories with us.
Working on Me Before Me over the span of six weeks was an exciting endeavour that allowed me to: 1) work strictly as a director for the first time, 2) focus on a creational process, 3) engage with Arianna collaboratively as co-director. The process of conceiving the piece was one of the most relaxed, focused and driven processes I have been part of. Arianna and I were successful in creating a room in which everyone felt like their choices will be respected and encouraged. The showing of the work in front of 20 people was moderately successful in that we did lose the audience at some points, but received a lot of intriguing thoughts regarding the use of objects and relationships in the piece. The next step of this piece will be to focus in on one or two subjects and to focus more on the role the audience plays in witnessing it.
Quarantine (He Who Says No)
Quarantine is a piece devised from Bertolt Brectht's learning play "He Who Says No". This short piece was a collaborative creation as part of the "Stanislavski, Brecht & Beyond" Tisch Special Program at NYU Berlin. In creating Quarantine, my collaborators and I engaged with the question of responsibility in the times of climate change.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
played Lancelet Giobbe
As part of my training at The Classical Studio at the Tisch School of the Arts, I played Lancelet Giobbe in the Fall Rehearsal Project. The process was incredibly intriguing and enriching, in that Louis and Daniel both pushed me to work physically while fully concentrating on each moment and thought. In my interpretation of this character, I paid close attention to exploring the human side of 'The Clown'. Lancelet is not only a character that gives levity to the play but rather a three-dimensional one without whom the action could not move forward.
November 19 & 21, 2016 in the Cabaret Theater at the Tisch School of the Arts
Directed by Louis Scheeder & Daniel Spector
Mujeres Cabalgando en la Arena | Women Riding in the Sand
Directed by Carlos Díaz León
Working with acclaimed director Carlos Diaz Leon from Santiago, Chile, NYU Abu Dhabi students present an innovative multimedia investigation into the preoccupations of F.G. Lorca. Refracting his riveting stories and timeless characters through a variety of artistic lenses, this radical theatrical production steps into a world of beguiling questions — on gender, love, identity, desire — created by the master of poetic realism. (NYU Abu Dhabi website)
March 10, 11 & 12, 2016 at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Black Box
Women Riding in the Sand is a collage of different scenes from Frederico García Lorca's (1898 - 1936) plays Blood Wedding, The House of Bernada Alba and Yerma. The piece involved doubling of characters, in order to explore the power of the male and female. The visually stunning stage pictures created a dangerous space for the characters and a contemplative, sometimes challenging environment for the audience.
Portraying Juan with four other men was both fun and challenging. I was pushed to explore a masculine archetype of violence in my performance, using both spoken text and song.
Organs, Tissues & Candy Games
Directed by Zoukak Theater Company
November 13, 14 & 15, 2014 at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Black Box
“Organs, Tissues and Candy Games” is an investigation into modern day monstrosity. It questions the role of policymaking in scientific advancement and the insatiable pursuit for immortality and security. In this quest for power, must progress always be prioritized against all its collateral damage?
Working with the acclaimed Zoukak Theatre Company from Lebanon, NYUAD students use the story of Frankenstein and his monster to follow a panorama of characters from the past to the future as they struggle with their self-image, with megalomania, beautification, love, desire, loss, confinement, and—ultimately—death. (NYU Abu Dhabi website)
played the Doctor
Organs, Tissues & Candy Games did not treat us like college students, but rather as full-fledged collaborators. In the piece I played a doctor who was obsessed with creating the perfect machine, using parts of real humans, especially from children. Using self-written lyrics set to the melody of an ice-cream truck, the doctor expressed his desires and passions through song. Working on the piece was a great Zoukak Theater Company was my first college production and I am glad to have started my time at NYU Abu Dhabi with such a challenging piece and process. The members of experience, because Zoukak Theater Company gave me the tools and motivation to create my own material and to have the courage to show something in the rehearsal process that is not even close to being fully crafted.