In its inaugural year, PUBLIC WORKS created an extraordinary example of participatory theater with this free, original musical adaptation of THE TEMPEST, directed by LEAR DEBESSONET. The piece was inspired by a 1916 community theatrical event of Caliban by the Yellow Sands at the stadium at City College in New York. Director
Seven cameo performers from New York City were featured in this PUBLIC WORKS production of THE TEMPEST, in addition to five community partners: Children’s Aid Society (Manhattan); DreamYard (Bronx); Fortune Society (Queens); Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn); and Domestic Workers United (all boroughs, including Staten Island). For THE TEMPEST, participants from these community groups performed in the ensemble, as well as played featured roles. The cameo groups included Ballet Tech, the NYC Public School for Dance, with choreography by Eliot Feld; the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which creates folkloric and contemporary works while exploring Mexican traditions; the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Ensemble, a taiko drumming group; the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, a choir based in New York’s East Village; the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance; Raya Brass Band, which performs Balkan “gypsy” music; and Stephen Duncan, a New York City performance artist who specializes in super-sized soap bubbles. THE TEMPEST featured scenic design by Matt Saunders; costume design by Paul Carey; lighting design by Tyler Micoleau; and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.
This program was made possible with the generous support of the Ford Foundation.