Odysseus at Hell Gate:
An East River Puppetscape

Socrates Sculpture Park. Queens, NY
PERFORMANCE:  August 29, 6PM–Dusk

CONCEPT, DESIGN, and DIRECTION:  Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles
SOUND DESIGN:   John Plenge
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT:  Shaun Leonardo and Leonard White

An East River Puppetscape

On  August 29, PAW and nearly a hundred intrepid volunteers transformed Socrates Sculpture Park into a performance installation that reimagined the history of New York’s forgotten islands through the lens of Homeric myth. Integrating pageant puppetry, intersecting micro-parades, and looping performances, Odysseus at Hell Gate paired texts from the Odyssey with historic accounts of North Brother Island, Hart Island, and other forgotten places in the city’s maritime shadowlands.

Park visitors assumed the role of the homeward-bound hero, using fragmentary charts and haphazard guidance to navigate the capricious currents of New York’s complex island history, from potter’s fields to pleasure parks to penitentiaries. With no order or sequence, characters appeared and disappeared throughout the park, leaving lost mariners free to wander through a shifting immersive narrative.


~New York Times article by Melena Ryzik  

~ Photos by Martin Lopez on Flickr