Jessica Brater, Artistic Director,* is the founding Artistic Director of Polybe + Seats. She is currently developing Sarah Sakaan’s The Art of Hijab, Kohl Black and the Right Way to Pray in residency at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC). Brater worked with Sakaan to conceive and develop Anna Asli Suriyah (I Come from Syria), which she directed at the site-specific venue Beit Jeddo in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2014. Excerpts of Anna Asli Suriyah were also presented at LPAC and the University of New Haven. For Polybe, Brater also directed projects including Avi Glickstein’s A History of Launching Ships at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 92; the English language premiere of Pixerecourt’s nineteenth century melodrama Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers at Park Slope’s Old Stone House; and conceived and directed A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things at the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge in Red Hook. In 2006 she was a resident artist at Mabou Mines/Suite to develop The Charlotte Salomon Project, for which Polybe + Seats also received a New Play Commission from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. The Charlotte Salomon Project was produced at Brooklyn Fire Proof in November 2006 and toured to the University of Michigan in April 2007 for the opening of the Walgreen Drama Center. Recent directing credits away from Polybe include Gertrude Stein’s Yes is for a Very Young Man for Target Margin Theater. Brater the Theater Program Director and an Assistant Dean at the University of New Haven, where she teaches courses in theater for community impact and contemporary performance. Her writing has appeared in publications including Theatre Journal, The Journal of Beckett Studies, and the bilingual journal Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui. Brater’s book, Ruth Maleczech at Mabou Mines: Woman’s Work, is forthcoming from Methuen Drama in 2016. She holds a BA from Barnard College and a PhD from the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Sarah Sakaan, Associate Artistic Director, is a New York City based Syrian-American theater maker, actress and writer. As Playwright in Residence at LPAC(LaGuardia Performing Arts Center) 2014-2015 she has written the new play The Art of Hijab, Kohl Black and the Right Way to Pray, which is slated for a workshop production March 2016 at LPAC. Sakaan's writing is influenced by her upbringing in Memphis,TN, in a Muslim and Unitarian Universalist household. She is interested in themes of social justice, social-cultural rituals and traditions, current events as well as assimilation verses cultural preservation. Sakaan has lived and worked in NYC since 2005, upon graduating from Emerson College in Boston with a B.F.A. in Acting. Most of her theater career has been in the development of new plays and collaboratively developed works in downtown and independent theater of NYC and Brooklyn. Sakaan has worked with Jim Simpson and Carol Ostrow at the Flea Theater on numerous productions with playwrights such as A.R. Gurney and Thomas Bradshaw. Sakaan has collaborated with the theater company Polybe+Seats since 2006 devising new works, reviving classic plays, performing and writing for site specific productions. With Polybe + Seats she has joyfully performed in Granada, A Thousand, Thousand Slimy Things, Alice or The Scottish Gravediggers, A History of Launching Ships, and Anna Asli Suriyah(I Come from Syria). For P+S she has also developed, directed, produced and performed in Dreamscape for the Figment Arts Festival and Project Syria, a solo performance from In the Atrium: Polybe + Seats in Progress at Brooklyn Winery. Project Syria was the Work in Progress showing of three monologues that were eventually expanded to create the play Anna Asli Suriyah (I Come from Syria). NYC acting credits include Gulnare in The Corsair, directed by Katie Naka, Columbia MFA Directing Thesis and Mae in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof directed by Katie Naka Columbia MFA Directing Thesis, Doctor Faustus with Queens Players, Jose Rivera's Sonnets for an Old Century with Impulse Initiative, King Lear as Earl of Kent with Balloon Heaven Productions and Sybil Kempson's KurbisGeistNacht at Dixon Place. Sarah has also worked with Libby Emmons and Dave Marcus of BlueBox Productions on a number of Stickies, as well as Connie in Detroit, The Flea Theater's Post Mortem, Offending the Audience and Dawn. Film credits include "Oh Boy!", Shot at Sundown and Project NIM. Sakaan is a writer with a strong theater and acting background who is interested in the process of collaboration and developing new works that are challenging and entertaining for theater makers and audience members alike.
Natalie Robin, Associate Producer,* is a NY-based lighting designer of theater, opera, dance, music and performance art. Natalie’s design work often focuses on new American plays, contemporary dance and site-specific work. Recent notable designs include: White at Danspace Project choreographed by Michelle Boulé; The Bad and the Better, directed by Daniel Aukin; Next Fall and God of Carnage at Dallas Theater Center; The King of Second Avenue at New Rep Theatre; Trade Practices with David Evans Morris and Kristin Marting on Governor's Island; and the New England Premiere of In Darfur for WAM Theatre. She has been a guest artist at Bard College, Muhlenberg College and the University of New Haven, as well as at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. In addition to her design work, Natalie has been the associate producer and production manager of American Realness, a festival of contemporary performance curated by Ben Pryor/tbspMGMT. She is a founding company member and Associate Producer of Polybe + Seats and an Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater. She has taught at Brooklyn College, NYU and Williams College. In 2016-2017, she will be the Visiting Assistant Professor of Performance Design and Technology at Alfred University. Natalie is the winner of the Apollo Lighting 2011 Standing O Award, a Live Design Magazine 2008 Young Designer to Watch, and a Rolex Mentors and Protégés Arts Initiative 2014 nominee. Natalie is a contributing writer for both Live Design Magazine and Stage Directions. BA: Columbia. MFA: NYU/Tisch. Member USA 829. http://www.natalierobinlighting.com/
Avi Glickstein is a New York-based actor and writer and has been involved in commercial, non-profit, regional, and downtown productions in various creative and technical capacities. With Polybe + Seats he has worked on Mother Russia, The Charlotte Salomon Project, Here We Go!: 365 Days/365 Plays (co-producer), and A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things. He also wrote Polybe's first commissioned play, Granada. In addition to Polybe, he also often collaborates with experimental music and theater group Object Collection. With them, he has performed in Is this a gentleman? (Ontological Incubator, 2005), Evoke memories of a golden age, Famous Actors, and Problem Radical(s) as well as musical compositions by Travis Just, Michael Pisaro, John Lely, Cornelius Cardew, and Christian Kesten. His performances and written work have been seen at venues including the Public Theater, New York International Fringe Festival, Mabou Mines, HERE, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Stage, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, and the University of Michigan. He has worked with companies that include Prospect Theater Company, Studio 42, Bread and Puppet Theater, New England Shakespeare Festival, the Bridge Theatre Company, Mind the Gap, and Creative Mechanics (founding Producing Associate). He has a B.A. from Columbia University in Theater and English and trained in Meisner technique at the William Esper Studio. MFA, Dramatic Writing, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Elaine O'Brien has appeared in Polybe + Seats' The Charlotte Salomon Project, 365 Plays/365 Days, Granada and A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things. Past favorite roles include Dawn in Lobby Hero and Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa.
Lindsay Torrey is an actor, dancer and choreographer. With Polybe, she has appeared in The Museum Play, Careful of Eights and The Charlotte Salomon Project. Favorite credits include Estelle in No Exit and Anne Deever in All My Sons for the Clarence Brown Theatre, Desdemona in Othello for the Theatre at Monmouth, and Kit in Top Girls for The Actor's Center. She holds a BA in English and Dance from Columbia University and an MFA in Acting from The University of Tennessee.
Ari Vigoda has been working with Polybe + Seats as an actor since 2006. He has performed in their productions of The Charlotte Salomon Project, A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things, and Granada. He has also appeared on Guiding Light and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. For the very latest, check out www.arivigoda.com.
Company Members Emeriti
Miriam Felton-Dansky *
Devon Harlow *
Stacey Cooper McMath *
Sylvan Oswald *
Katya Schapiro *
* Founding Member of Polybe + Seats