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New World Performance Laboratory

Company Biographies
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THE COMPANY

 

James Slowiak (co-artistic director) is currently Professor of Theatre at The University of Akron in Ohio. From 1983 to 1989, Mr. Slowiak served as Assistant to Jerzy Grotowski in all facets of the Focused Research Program in Objective Drama at the University of California-Irvine and at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski in Pontedera, Italy.  Mr. Slowiak's work in collaboration with Grotowski is the subject of an article in the spring 1991 issue of The Drama Review and is discussed in the book At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions by Thomas Richards (Routledge, 1995).  Mr. Slowiak received his MFA in Directing from the University of California-Irvine and a BA in Anthropology, French, and Dramatic Arts from Macalester College.  He co-founded and was Artistic Director of At Random Theatre Ensemble in St. Paul, Minnesota (1978-1982).  He has directed more than sixty theatre events, including his own adaptations of Moliere’s El Misantropo and Cervantes’ Entremeses in Bogota, Colombia, and he has conducted numerous workshops in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  For NWPL, Mr. Slowiak has directed The Ancients; Mother's Work; Epiphany ; Veredas; The Book of Saints and Martyrs; Essential Demonstrations; Woyzeck (Fragments of a Morality Play as Performed by the Prodigies of Dr. Somnus' Freak Show); HamletMachine; Electra; Love in the Time of Lunatics; Winesburg, Ohio;  Deathwatch, Frankenstein and others.  He is co-author (with Jairo Cuesta) of Jerzy Grotowski (Routledge, 2007).

 

Jairo Cuesta (co-artistic director) is a Colombian actor and director.  He collaborated with Jerzy Grotowski in the Theatre of Sources and the Objective Drama Program from 1976 to 1986, working in Poland, France, Italy, Mexico, Haiti, and the USA.  He participated in preliminary workshops for The Mahabarata in Paris, under the direction of Peter Brook.  Mr. Cuesta has been a guest artist at The University of Paris; the University of California-Irvine; The Colorado College; Eckerd College; Case Western Reserve University; Ashland University; and The University of Akron where he directed Samuel Beckett's Endgame.  Mr. Cuesta has conducted numerous workshops in Performance Ecology and actor training techniques around the world.  He has performed with Teatro Libre in Bogota, Colombia, and co-directed (with James Slowiak) Moliere's The Misanthrope.  For NWPL, Mr. Cuesta has directed The Dybbuk and has performed in Mothers Work, The Recital of the Bird, Epiphany I, The Phantoms of King Lear, The Book of Saints and Martyrs, Woyzeck, Electra, HamletMachine, Love in the Time of Lunatics, Deathwatch, Angry Gods and Lost Marbles, Frankenstein, Alice...Down the Rabbit Hole, and Action.  He is co-author (with James Slowiak) of Jerzy Grotowski (Routledge, 2007).

 

Debora Totti (performer) is an Italian actress with many years of experience in performance and research. She took part in the project The Way to India led by Abani Biswas, a member of Jerzy Grotowski's Theatre of Sources team.  She worked with Japanese Buto artist, Sumako Koseki, and appeared in Ossicine under the direction of Cesare Ronconi.  For several years Ms. Totti was a   member of the group Teatro e Natura, coordinated by Sista Bramini and Francesca Ferri.  With this group she has performed in Viaggio da Har a Tar, Ifigenia in Tauride, and All'arie All'arie.  Debora Totti has participated in numerous workshops with Haitian traditional practitioner Maud Robart.  She has also worked with Jairo Cuesta and James Slowiak in the Project in Performance Ecology since 1994 and joined NWPL as a company member in October 1998.  She has appeared in Woyzeck, HamletMachine, Electra,  Love in the Time of Lunatics, La Signora, Angry Gods and Lost Marbles, Frankenstein, Alice...Down the Rabbit Hole, and Action.

 

 

Christopher Buck (performer) has worked with NWPL since 2003.  He has appeared in Winesburg, Ohio; Deathwatch; Frankenstein and Angry Gods and Lost Marbles.  He directed Sam Shepard’s short play Action.  Chris is a theatre major at The University of Akron.

 

Megan Elk (composer/performer) has worked with NWPL since 2003.  In that time she has performed in Winesburg, Ohio; Frankenstein; Alice...Down the Rabbit Hole and her own solo cabaret piece, Stairway to Paradise.  She has composed music for NWPL productions of Winesburg, Ohio, Frankenstein and Angry Gods and Lost Marbles.  She is currently on the voice faculty at the Aurora School of Music.

 

Justin Hale (performer) has worked with NWPL since 2003.  He has appeared in Winesburg, Ohio; Deathwatch; Action and Frankenstein.  Justin is a graduate of the theatre program at The University of Akron.

 

Jamie G. Hale (performer) has worked with NWPL since 2001.  She has appeared in Electra; Winesburg, Ohio; Action and Frankenstein.  Jamie directed Alice...Down the Rabbit HoleJamie is a graduate of the theatre program at The University of Akron.