Available for Digital Streaming: SEAHORSE, a new play with audio description

May 15-31, 2023

SEAHORSE, a new play written by JC Pankratz and directed by HILLS postdoc Nicolas Shannon Savard, premiered last month at Maelstrom Collaborative Arts in conjunction with the Cleveland Humanities Festival. A recording of the performance will be available to stream on demand through May 31, 2023. General admission tickets are free or by a pay-what-you-will donation. All proceeds will go to volunteer-led, not-for-profit organizations that serve northeast Ohio’s transgender community. Your donation will support the work of:

• Camp Lilac, a summer camp for trans and gender diverse youth to find community among supportive peers and allies
• Margie’s Closet, a gender-affirming not-for-profit resale clothing shop; profits fund a variety of services and support groups for trans folks of all ages and their families
• TransOhio, a statewide organization that provides services, education, support, and advocacy, promoting and improving the health, safety, and life experience of the Ohio transgender individual and community

Please visit the Seahorse webpage to reserve your ticket and access the recorded performance, to learn more about the production, and to listen to the behind-the-scenes audio tour.


The script, which was awarded the 2021 FMM Fellowship for Works in Heightened Language from Synecdoche Works, follows a trans man named Reuben (played by Emmett Podgorski). Reuben is continuing his attempts to conceive a child after the death of his husband. In processing his grief and hope, he turns his insemination endeavors into moments of self-recognition by donning different costumes and personas for each try. Juliet, Zeus, and St. Francis all make appearances. Instead of a funerary parade, this play seeks the purpose of life for the living, for the dead, and for the not-yet-arrived. Surrounding Reuben is an ensemble of actors (Justin Miller, Samantha Cocco, and Minor Stokes) who provide live audio description of the onstage action. Inspired by disability aesthetics, the production approaches accessibility not as simply accommodation but as a rich opportunity for creative exploration: What layers of meaning come out when the audio description becomes a character (or three) in and of itself? How might different voices describing the action add nuance to the story and deepen our exploration of queer-trans embodiment and narrative?

This production of Seahorse was made possible with the support of the Baker Nord Center for the Humanities, Synecdoche Works, and the Humanities in Leadership Learning Series at Case Western Reserve University.

Available to stream through May 31. Visit the Seahorse webpage to register to stream the performance. Questions? Contact Nicolas Shannon Savard, nicolas.savard@case.edu.