Seahorse, a new play written by JC Pankratz and directed by HILLS postdoc Nicolas Shannon Savard, will premiere at Maelstrom Collaborative Arts in early April.
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?
The performances are presented in conjunction with the 2023 Cleveland Humanities Festival. Events associated with the production are 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.
All events associated with this production of Seahorse are free and open to the public. Please visit the show’s webpage to reserve tickets and for more information regarding the production and accessibility.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, April 6 Crawford Hall, Room 13A (Social Justice Institute). CWRU Campus, 10900 Euclid Ave. Reception, 6:45pm Playwriting Workshop with JC Pankratz, 7:30-9:30pm In this workshop, we will focus on playwriting’s bite-sized powerhouse: the monologue. Participants should bring writing materials and be ready to dive headfirst into exploring the craft and power of writing for one singular, uninterrupted voice.
Friday, April 7 Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, 5403 Detroit Ave. Cleveland “Exploring Queer-Trans Intimacy, Disability Aesthetics, and Community Care” a pre-show director’s talk by Nicolas Shannon Savard, 5:00-5:45pm Opening Night Performance of Seahorse, 7:00-8:00pm
Saturday, April 8 Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, 5403 Detroit Ave. Cleveland Performance of Seahorse, 7:00-8:00pm
Sunday, May 7 Recorded and captioned version of the performance available for streaming online