HARBORED Weaves Stories of Immigration in Site-Specific Show at Brookfield Place
Co-commissioned by Arts Brookfield and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) as part of the River To River Festival 2017, HARBORED is a new site-specific theatrical experience produced by En Garde Arts weaving together stories from the last two centuries of immigration in the U.S., performed a stone's throw from Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place.
Written and directed by Jimmy Maize with music by Heather Christian, choreography by Wendy Seyb, and vocals by Mama Foundation for the Arts' Wednesday Sings Choir and the Downtown Voices Choir, HARBORED looks back through history to tell the stories of those who emigrated to the United States and how the American dream succeeded and failed to deliver on its promise.
"Willa Cather," a writer in love with the pioneer spirit, heads west to pen one of her greatest novels, My Antonia, for which she cleverly recasts herself in the role of a male narrator. "Marion" is a genealogist who discovers that the first documented person to enter the United States through Ellis Island, Annie Moore, has a story that has been entirely fictionalized.
Rather than the success story that characterizes her journey, she in fact diEd Penniless in the Lower East Side, "Wes," is a young gay man whose life has become unmoored by the trauma and anxieties of 21st Century America. He finds unexpected kinship in an imagined relationship with the storied Meriwether Lewis. Merging past with the present, immigration stories will be gathered each day from passersby at Brookfield Place and integrated into the script that evening in real time through in-ear technology, making for an entirely new theatrical experience each time.
Audiences will move throughout the entirety of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, following performers that inhabit every nook and cranny of the space, juxtaposing intimate narratives with large-scale story-based spectacle. In the center of the Winter Garden is a telephone booth, a relic from an earlier time that functions as a meeting place for past and present. The phone booth was inspired by the real-life "Phone on the Wind" in Japan, which was created so that survivors of the Fukushima tsunami could communicate with their loved ones who had passed away. While the phone booth in HARBORED serves as a reminder of a now obsolete means of communication, it will function as an actual story-gathering station before each show, where the tourists, shoppers, and office workers in Brookfield Place can participate in interviews about their familial roots via the handset. The stories will be collected each day by the director and incorporated into the evening performance.
Stories will be gathered on June 21st thru June 25th between 12 pm and 2 pm each day in the Winter Garden. After the Friday, June 23rd evening performance, there will be break out sessions led by the cast in the performance space.
Setting the scene for the HARBORED performance is The Roof, a site-specific textile sculpture by celebrated Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak, that takes its inspiration from the artist's own immigrant background, which is suspended among the iconic Winter Garden palm trees. HARBORED will be staged under and around the sculpture, its raw silk, glass fiber, non-woven fabric, wires, hooks, and chains intended to connote, in the artist's words, "a space for hope and opportunities."
"Arts Brookfield has a long history of celebrating cultural tales and traditions," said Elysa Marden, Vice President, Arts Brookfield. "We are proud to co-present HARBORED with En Garde Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, in tandem with Pinaree Sanpitak's remarkable and important sculpture, The Roof, to provide access to the rich histories and stories of immigrant journeys from near and far, past and present."
"We are so thrilled to be partnering with Arts Brookfield and En Garde Arts to present HARBORED in the River To River Festival," said MeLissa Levin, Vice President, Cultural Programs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. "In River To River, LMCC is committed to amplifying diverse voices and telling untold stories. We are particularly excited about the dynamic and interactive ways in which HARBORED is a platform for recounting historic and contemporary stories about immigration and the complexities of the American Dream. And what better place to do so than the Winter Garden, set in the middle of New York Harbor!"
Anne Hamburger, Founder, En Garde Arts, said, "I brought Jimmy Maize to the iconic Winter Garden at Brookfield Place and asked him what he could imagine there. As he looked out the window towards the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, it became clear that the space would lend itself beautifully to the stories of those who came to the United States in search of the American Dream. How timely."
Arts Brookfield has long-presented engaging performances and events as part of the River To River Festival, this year marking the 16th year of the partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. HARBORED is part of Arts Brookfield's ongoing commitment to presenting free arts programming for the New York community, and across the globe. For more information about HARBORED and Arts Brookfield New York, visit artsbrookfield.com/harbored.
Arts Brookfield presents exciting, world-class cultural experiences to hundreds of thousands of people for free each year in both indoor and outdoor public spaces at Brookfield's premier office properties in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Washington, D.C., London, Toronto, Perth and Sydney. From concerts, theater and dance to film screenings and art exhibitions, Arts Brookfield brings public spaces to life through art. Visit www.ArtsBrookfield.com for a complete schedule of events.
Since its founding in 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) has been dedicated to empowering artists and enhancing the cultural vibrancy of New York City through a broad range of platforms and initiatives, all based on the belief that artists are an inspirational and catalyzing force within any community. Visit www.LMCC.net for more.
En Garde Arts produces bold, unconventional and innovative interdisciplinary theatre that marries content with community and inspires dialogue and debate around the salient issues of our time. Founded by Anne Hamburger in 1985, En Garde Arts is recognized for putting site-specific theatre on the map in New York City. Most recent credits include developing and producing the critically acclaimed BASETRACK Live, a theatrical experience that illuminates the long term impact of war on veterans and their families that premiered at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM) in 2014 and travelled to 40 cities. Its most recent production WILDERNESS will be premiering at the Kennedy Center this coming October. En Garde Arts is co-producing a new immersive production RED HILLS with Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh. Written by Sean Lewis and directed by Katie Pearl, it leads us to question our culpability in authoring history and our capacity to forgive. En Garde Arts is proud to be producing this site-specific production of HARBORED, a return to its site-specific roots. Further information is available at www.engardearts.org.
Jimmy Maize is a writer/director and member of Tectonic Theater Project since 2005. Tectonic projects include 33 Variations (Broadway, starring Jane Fonda), The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later (BAM), One Arm (The New Group), as well as teaching Moment Work nationally and internationally through Tectonic's Education and Community Engagement Department. As a playwright, he is a recipient of the first annual Bailiwick playwriting award and David Nord Award for his interview-based play In One Room, which has been performed nationally. He is an Associate Artist of Classic Stage Company, an Old Vic New Voices Fellow, an SDCF Observer, a Princess Grace Nominee and received his MFA in directing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Further information is available at www.jimmymaize.com.
Heather Christian is the daughter of a blues musician and a go-go dancer and is an Obie Award winning composer/performer. She is a recent Sundance Fellow and Ars Nova Uncharted Member with new musical Annie Salem, alongside Rachel Chavkin. Film scores include Man Rots from Head, Eat, Pauline Alone, Woman in Deep, and Gregory Go Boom, which took a 2014 Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Her first score for a feature film, "Lemon" premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January. She was recently named one of TimeOut NY's Downtown Innovators To Watch and has been nominated for a Drama League Outstanding Performance Award. She has released 8 records and can be seen all over the world as Heather Christian & the Arbornauts in concert halls and dive bars avant-torching. Further information is available at heatherchristian.com.
Wendy Seyb is an award-winning Director, Writer, and Choreographer. Her work spans many formats including film, digital, TV, theater, live events, sketch, and dance. Her talents have been sought out by top names in the industry including NBC/Universal Television, Disney Theatricals, The Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Richard Frankel Productions. Many of her outstanding projects as a choreographer have earned her significant praise including the Off-Broadway shows Click, Clack, Moo (Lortel nomination) and The Toxic Avenger Musical (Lucille Lortel Award, Joe A. Callaway Award, Toronto's DORA Award nominations). Her dance comedy Supernovas garnered her a Golden Nose Award, and her unique vision earned the cirque-style show Onirique a Big E Award. The Great Conjurer gave her a nomination for a New York Innovative Theatre Award. Murder For Two, had a successful Off-Broadway run and 2 national tours. Further information is available at www.wendyseyb.com.