Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers: Cartography

Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:00pm
Facebook Live

What are the journeys you have made? What maps guided you through? Watch a livestream of the theater work Cartography (2019), an exploration of our lives through the lens of four refugees created by Brooklyn-based theater artist Kaneza Schaal '06 and author Christopher Myers, presented by Wesleyan's Center for the Arts and Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as part of World Refugee Day. The livestream will be followed by a Q&A with Schaal and Myers.

Designed for audiences young and old, journey with four young people as they leave their worlds behind and begin anew. Combining simple storytelling with interactive video technology, Cartography engages the audience from start to finish. Performed by a diverse company of actors from El Salvador, Syria, Lebanon, and Rwanda, this is theater for our times at its most relevant.

The Center for the Arts presented the New England premiere of Kaneza Schaal's "Go Forth" (2016) at Wesleyan in September 2016 in the CFA Theater. Schaal has also worked with the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance's Doris Duke Foundation Case Studies, examining art practices, economic resources, and modes of sustainability amidst changing cultural economies.

In 2016, Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers spent one month in Munich, Germany with a group of 25 young people. These 9 to17 year olds were refugees seeking asylum in Europe who had come Syria, Mali, Afghanistan, Eretria, Somalia, Iraq, and Nigeria. They had walked through forests, taken inflatable rafts across the Mediterranean, found their way on trains and in cars, traversing the treacherous personal, political, and literal terrain of migration across Europe. They had encounters with people smugglers, border authorities across multiple countries, and primarily with the unknown landscape of their own future. Many of these young people had come alone. Through mapmaking and storytelling, Schaal and Myers aimed to provide the young people a framework from which to unpack the complexities of their maps both internal and geographic.

Filmed on February 13, 2020. Developed in part at New York University Abu Dhabi, including the work of  Interactive Media graduates. Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann. Cartography was made possible by a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation, and is a co-commission of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi, and Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio, with developmental support provided by Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Canada and the Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Developed as part of New Victory Lab Works at The New Victory Theater in New York City, and at The Performing Garage as part of The Performing Garage Presents Residency Program. This play was workshopped and presented as a rehearsed reading in April 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of New Visions/New Voices 2018.

Image by Waleed Shah.