The Port/Cities Project will present the World Premiere of Port Cities NYC, written, directed and choreographed by Talya Chalef. This theatrical journey begins at Pier 11 in the Financial District, where audiences ferry across the harbor accompanied by an original soundscape. After docking in Red Hook’s working port, the performance continues on board The Waterfront Museum Barge. This limited engagement runs May 5 – 19.
Port Cities NYC is a ghost story about inheritance. Feeling haunted since she was a little girl, Katie goes in search of answers beyond the hallway of her childhood home. Delving into her family history and the history of the city that birthed her, she comes face to face with what scares her most. Port Cities NYC is an intimate and sometimes disturbing look into old New York and New Amsterdam where Katie’s ancestors traded, bought, sold and helped build a wall that continues to divide many. Reckoning with family legacy, a cross-racial relationship, and cycles of violence that still continue to this day, Katie must navigate through the game that has given her more playing cards than most. If she can’t stop the loop, who can? And will everyone lose in the end?
The Port/Cities Project is a global performance project linking five cities along 17th century Dutch trade routes. From Perth, Australia to Cape Town, South Africa, from Amsterdam and New York City to the old port of Jakarta, each city will host a unique project exploring our interconnected heritage. Local myths, legends, and folklores will be explored against the backdrop of contemporary issues. The sum of all five cities will be documented both online and within a gallery in Amsterdam. Port Cities NYC is the first movement of this unique global odyssey.
Port Cities NYC is performed by Emma Meltzer, Marcus Crawford Guy, Elizabeth Gray & Nathaniel Ryan. It features a live musical score by Cameron Orr and generative projection visuals by Horus Vacui. The production team also includes: Liz Nielson (Production Manager); Jung Griffin (Scenic design), Weston Wetzel (LX & Media design) and Alison McClaughlin.
Talya Chalef is a Brooklyn based South African/Australian interdisciplinary artist who has developed and presented new projects since 2004. She is the cofounder of Public Works Department with Sofy Yuditskaya and a member of Mapping Spectral Traces – a global group of artists, scholars and academics concerned with cultural geography.
The Waterfront Museum, founded in 1985, is located in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It is housed aboard the 1914 Lehigh Valley Barge, #79, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Free Open Boat Tours for families Thursdays 4-8 pm and Saturdays 1-5pm. Groups any day by appointment. For more information visit their website.
Port Cities NYC runs May 5 – 19, Thursday & Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 3 pm & 8 pm with an additional performance Weds. May 18 at 8 pm. Pier 11 is located in downtown Manhattan on South Street between Wall Street and Gouveneur Lane. Tickets are $27, available here.
Photo of Jabari Brisport performs at Port Cities’ workshop at Dixon Place in 2015, by Kelly Stuart.