New York Lands was devised entirely by Wagner College theatre students under the direction of Carlos García Estévez. Paulo Serantes created the music and lighting elements and Wagner theatre professor David McDonald assisted as voice and text coach. This story focuses on Tom and Veronica Riley, who have just returned home to New York from vacationing in Hawai'i. As the narrative unfolds, the dynamics of Tom and Veronica's relationship change as they interact with the city and its residents. With a surprising conclusion, New York Lands illustrates the powerful influence of this immense city on its citizens.
In this production, the actors created their own characters. Based on rehearsal improvisations, Estévez and Serantes drafted a plot outline, which in turn helped the actors to refine their dialogue, movements, and stories with no help from a script. This creative process, wherein the actors are required to communicate not only through dialogue, but also with the storytelling elements of sound, music, space, and movement, is rooted in Carlos' research at his Laboratory Manifesto Poetico in addition to his education and continued association with the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. (Pascale Lecoq, an architect and director of both her father's school and its Laboratory for the Study of Movement (LEM), made significant contributions to the development of the project.) The actors use instruments and their voices to generate sound effects and music, creating dynamics between their bodies and the surrounding space which conjures the visceral presence of New York environment. Spatial awareness allows the actors to create a living, breathing atmosphere, altogether eliminating the need for set pieces. As a result, they communicate an understanding of how humans connect physically, visually, and audibly to the world around them.
Shane Indeglia, Dramaturge
The interacting dynamics formed by urban architecture, rhythms, sounds, smells and behavior are the observable materials in New York that were transposed into New York Lands. My interest is to combine fluidly the concreteness of real life with the abstraction of it. I search to understand the craftsmanship behind the observable material on the street, the mechanisms behind ordinary life, in order to discover human stories. I think that the city of New York is fantastic dramatic territory.
Carlos García Estévez, Director