Harvest
First Floor Theatre
January 19 - February 5, 2006
Thursday - Saturday 7:30pm
Sunday - 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Tickets $15
Written by Manjula Padmanabhan
Directed by Benjamin Mosse
Photo: Zhen Heinemann

Box office 212.475.7710

The play is an ironic, sci-fi examination of the relations between developing and developed countries. Set in the imminent future "Harvest" imagines a grisly pact between the first and third worlds, in which desperate people can sell their body parts to wealthy clients in return for food, water, shelter and riches for themselves and their families. As such, it is a play about how the "first" world cannibalizes the "third" world to fulfill its own desires.

The story, centers on Om, who signs up to be an organ donor for an American woman named Ginni because there are no other jobs available for him in Mumbai. Ginni pays him to lead a "clean" and "healthy" life so she can harvest healthy organs whenever she needs them. Ginni begins to control every aspect of Om's life, from when and what he eats to whom he sees and how he uses the bathroom. In fact, Ginni comes to control the entire family until the end of the play, when Om's diseased brother, Jeetu, is taken to give organs instead of Om, and the recipient, Ginni, turns out to not be what she initially seemed. In a final act of defiance, the seeds of rebellion flower in a "checkmate" ploy by Om's wife, Jaya.

The author's vision of a post-apocalypse future is dark, but told with rich irony and humor. Themes of globalization abound. Director Benjamin Mosse says, "We are struck more and more by the loss of individualism because branding is becoming so universal. The first and third worlds are no longer geopolitical places, but economic zones. Om sells his body to the face of a corporation, which is indifferent to the fact that he is American or Indian."

"Harvest" won the Onassis Award for best new international play in 1997. It was selected out of 1,460 entries from 76 countries. It has been produced in Athens, Delhi, Swarthmore College and UC Berkeley. This is its New York professional premiere.

Playwright Manjula Padmanabhan is a Delhi-based writer and artist. Being both a cartoonist and socially-conscious playwright, she invites comparison with America's Jules Feiffer. Her books include "Hot Death, Cold Soup," a collection of short stories; "Getting There," a travel-memoir; "This is Suki!", a collection of her New Delhi strip SUKI; "Hidden Fires," a collection of five dramatic monologues; and "Kleptomania," a second collection of short stories. Her comic strips appeared weekly in the Sunday Observer (Bombay, 1982-86) and daily in the Pioneer (New Delhi, 1991-97). Padmanabhan has illustrated twenty-four books for children including her own two novels for children, "Mouse Attack" and "Mouse Invaders. Her most recent book is "Double Talk", a collection of the Bombay strip by the same name. For an online show of her prints, click to http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/manjula1.html.

An article on Ms. Padmanabhan's cartoons, with excerpts from her collection, "Double Talk," is online at www.nytheatre-wire.com

The actors are Zina Anaplioti, Diksha Basu, Sam Chase, Rupak Ginn, Naheed Khan, Christianna Nelson, Debargo Sanyal and Jeffrey Wither. Video is by Matt Bockelman. Set Design is by Lee Savage. Lighting Design is by Scott Bolman. Costume Design is by Chloe Chapin. Assistant Director is Sarah Curtis. Dramaturgy is by Christine Mok.


East Coast Artists
was founded by Artistic Director Richard Schechner in 1991. ECA's mission is fourfold:
* To develop theatrical productions and performance events that radically reconfigure the classics, that generate original theatrical works, and that call attention to specific aspects of life as performance, and thus amenable to intervention and change;
* to educate, mentor, and train theatre artists and others via ECA's synthesized theories of performance and transcultural techniques of performer training;
* to conduct and collaborate on interdisciplinary research on emotion and other performance-related topics;
* to facilitate intercultural and international exchange in all aspects of ECA's activities in production, training, outreach, and research.

To date ECA has produced six full-length productions, five directed by Richard Schechner ("Three Sisters," "Faust/Gastronome," "Hamlet," Waiting for Godot" and "YokastaS") and one directed by Maria Vail, Kafka's "Amerika." The Western hemisphere premiere of "Harvest" directed by Erin B. Mee will be the company's seventh full-length production.

East Coast Artists' first production at La MaMa, "Faust/Gastronome" (La MaMa, 1993) made the old alchemist a chef and was praised as "simultaneously adventurous and self-important, fiery and prodigal, sensuous and indulgent, quick witted and facile" (Marc Robinson, Village Voice). About the company's next production, "AmeriKa" (La MaMa, 1994), directed by Maria Vail Guevara, the Voice's Randy Gener wrote, "East Coast Artists has a penchant for 'thEATer.' The embedded caps attest to how the troupe chews on…the American Dream. 'Faust/Gastronome' cooked up the Faust myth as capitalism gone voraciously sick. Here, Kafka is chomped." When "Faust…" toured England, the London Guardian (Claire Armistead) wrote, "these people aren't just oddball iconoclasts--they are seriously talented actors and singers who are using their skills and cooking utensils for a feast of eye and mind."

East Coast Artists followed this production with two versions of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" at La MaMa in 1995 and 1997. As in the Yokasta story, "Three Sisters" had the characters moving through time: using a new (and faithful) translation by Michele Minnick, it had its first act in pre-revolutionary Russia, the second in post-revolutionary Russia, the third in a gulag of the 1950's and the fourth in the here-and-now of the theater. The idea was to test the play as drama, physical theater, farce and soap opera by moving it through the century, with the consciousnesses of Stanislavsky, Meyerhold and Stalin all hovering over the stage. East Coast Artists' last production at La MaMa was "YokastaS" by Schechner and Saviana Stanescu in 2003 and 2005.


Director Benjamin Mosse is currently an Associate Artistic Director of East Coast Artists. He has directed over 30 plays across the country, most recently Erick Herrscher’s "F***ing Ibsen Takes Time" at the Soho Playhouse. He has served as Artistic Director of Yale Cabaret and was founding Artistic Director of the non-profit IF Theatre Collective in Cincinnati. He was Assistant Director to Richard Schechner on "YokastaS Redux," David Esbjornson on "Much Ado About Nothing" at NYSF, Doug Hughes on "Flesh and Blood " at NY Theatre Workshop, Mark Lamos on "Taming of the Shrew" at Yale Rep, Michael Wilson on "Long Day's Journey into Night" at Hartford Stage, David Esbjornson on "Summer and Smoke" at The Guthrie, and John Tillinger on "Loot" at WTF. He holds an BSS from Northwestern University, an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama.

Mr. Mosse has written, "'Harvest' quite devastatingly illustrates for me the destruction of not only the proverbial old world, but also the psychological axioms of nation, culture, tradition and self. With our conquest by globalization, the postmodern economic colonial project is magnified globally, since the click of a button can alter events on the other side of the world instantaneously. Technology radically re-determines time and space, and the political ramifications are horrifying. A frightening byproduct of economic aggrandizement is the replacement of the tangible human individual with the notional corporation, which has, in law and society, become the surrogate of the individual. That, in the play, is Ginni."


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