For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked in the performing arts. I grew up playing in local community theater, speech team, and even ventriloquism (yes, really). When it came time to head to college, my family trekked me cross-country in a minivan with a mattress strapped to its roof to attend acting conservatory in New York City.
After graduation, friends and I weren’t finding roles that reflected who we were, so I wrote plays for us to perform. All the while, I curated art parties in my Williamsburg loft. Filled with music, spoken word, bouffon, visual artists, puppetry and short films, these gatherings often floated into the wee hours.
Curating and writing birthed my own theater company, terraNOVA Collective. We presented world-class performers, like Taylor Mac, W. Kamau Bell, Nilaja Sun, Erin Markey, Roger Bonair-Agard, Christen Clifford, Red Bastard, Maya Azucena, Emily DeCola, Nellie Tinder, Victoria Libertore, Joseph Keckler, Corn Mo and The Bengsons.
I discovered digital and multi-platform storytelling while developing my play FEEDER: A Love Story. Through this process, I expanded theater beyond the stage. Literally, I took theater to the streets and created NY_Hearts, a love story shared over a mobile app in site-specific locations.
I’ve written about digital, investigative, interactive and immersive theater for many publications and became an editor for The Civilians’ Extended Play. I also have helped create multi-platform digital social impact campaigns for Lina Srivastava.
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my wife, chilling with my daughters, whipping up tasty meals, and teaching digital media creation to youth with MIRA.
MULTI-PLATFORM AND SITE-SPECIFIC PLAYS
July 2012 – Present
One Muse Presents, The Brick Theater
Part walking tour, part love story, NY_Hearts offers people a new way to discover NYC by stepping into the characters’ shoes. Set in four different NYC neighborhoods, participants enjoy food, drinks and other surprises from local businesses, which are integrated into an audio story shared over mobile devices. Supporting story extensions of the audio story include: character websites, online character vlogs, original music and visual art.
The first part of NY_Hearts launched in the Lower East Side as part of the Game Play Festival by The Brick Theater in July 2012. Part two in Park Slope, Brooklyn runs April 19 – June 16, 2013. Purchase tickets for NY_Hearts: Park Slope here.
“Truly new. It inspired fierce conversation, threw you into interesting situations with other people, and forced every participant to be both a passive observer and to take an active role.”
FEEDER: A LOVE STORY
MARCH 2011, terraNOVA Collective
Feeder: A Love Storyshared the relationship of Jesse and Noel. Like thousands of other couples, they met online, fell in love, and got married. Noel and Jesse delved into the fringe lifestyle of feederism and opened themselves to an extraordinary world of passion, love and food. But what happens when one partner outgrows the other?
terraNOVA Collective presented this transmedia theatrical event that incorporated live video from a web camera and computer on stage, Internet vlogging, and written blogs that engaged audience before and after the play. The production was presented through HEREstay, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical and administrative support.
Michael Roderick, BROADWAYWORLD.COM
“Rarely in the theatre does a piece come out that causes one to be so engaged in every moment that time seems to stand still, yet such is the case with this piece masterfully directed by José Zayas.”
Anna Hayman, NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW
“Feeder: A Love Story…is provocative in the truest sense of the word. It provokes thought about body types and behaviors, contemplation about private and public life in our internet-glutted world, guilt about one’s own compulsions, surprising sympathy for an alien world view, and awe for its extraordinary creativity.”
ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS & OP EDS