Artist & Company bios:

Tobey Kaplan & Heikki Koskinen - TRIPTYCH, created and performed by Tobey Kaplan & Heikki Koskinen  / Spoken words - Music

Tobey Kaplan, has taught creative writing, reading and composition in the SF Bay for 40 years at several East Bay community colleges and through California Poets in the Schools. She has given poetry readings and literacy/social change workshops throughout the country, and often collaborates with musicians and performers;  please find her work in selected anthologies and collections, both paper and digital. tobeykaplan516@gmail.com

Heikki Koskinen is a Finnish Bay Area musician.  Chosen as top Finnish Jazz trumpet player in 1970’s, Heikki studied music at Berklee College of Music.  Heikki has led his jazz groups and worked as a music educator.  He is active in the Finnish community, composes and plays multiple instruments. kmusic@pacbell.net

 

Sangam Arts presents "Timeless Traditions - Classical Dances of India" Featuring Bharatanatyam by Urmila Vudali and Odissi by Maya Devalcheruvu

Founded in 2013, Sangam Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides an innovative platform for artists from diverse backgrounds to come together to collaborate and co-create world-class music and dance performances. Using a wide range of cultural and artistic expressions from Folklorico and Tap to Kathak and Hula, our presentations are carefully curated to that help us see our common humanity while allowing us to celebrate the traits that make us unique.

Maya Devalcheruvu, is the daughter/disciple of Niharika Mohanty and has been training in Odissi Indian classical dance at Guru Shradha for the past 11 years, with further training from Gurus Ratikant & Sujata Mohapatra. She has been invited to perform a duet piece in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, OSA Convention in Washington D.C., Odissi International 2015 in India, and solo in the US, Canada, and Bahamas.

Urmila Vudali is a Freshman at Saratoga High School.  She began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 5 and made her solo debut at age 9.  Under the guidance of her guru, Navia Natarajan, Urmila has performed full-length performances  in US and India and collaborative works with artists from other traditions including Odissi, Ballet, Mexican Folklorico, and Arabic Music - to name a few.

 

Nan Busse, Cindy Webster :  “THE JOICE PROJECT”, Excerpt from work in progress. created and performed by Nan Busse & Cindy Webster / Theatre

Nan Busse: in addition to creating her own dances/shows, Nan has done Deborah Hay's SPCP, danced around the world with Danny Nguyen and locally with Christine Germaine, Vangie King and others.  Performing (dance and didgeridoo) with musician Joe Lasqo and many fine, new music artists is a source of joy.

Cindy Webster: An admirer of classical music and musical theater, Cindy creates avant folk influenced melodies mixed with soundscapes using musical saw, voice, found objects, hurdy hurdy, accordion and effects. An award winning sawist, she has frequented the International Musical Saw Festival, New York Saw Festival, San Francisco, Dublin, Zootown and Grass Valley Fringe Festivals, trees, film libraries, and BART. Cynthia has been described as, “One who does more with her voice and saw than you have ever done with anything else.” She is happy to return to the Annual Contemporary Performance Diasporas Festival.

 

Benoit Monin: GOING HOME / CHEZ MOI, excerpt from work in progress. created with David Ford, and performed by Benoit Monin / Theatre

Benoît Monin is an actor and improviser who appeared in several prior Inferno productions (King Lear; The Tempest; Female Ashkenazi With a Sewing Machine; Quantum Desire). Today he shares an excerpt from a longer piece, The Year of Broken Bones, being developed with David Ford. More info: www.benoitmonin.com

 

SoulTalk: Creature Speak, created and performed by Indigo Jackson and Jane Eisner. /Performance Art.

Indigo Jackson and Jane Eisner are co-Creators of the devised theatre collective SoulTalk, a study-action group focused on strengthening the bond between body and mind while encouraging different languages of truth speaking. This piece, “Creature Speak”, is part of a larger evolving project, "UnEarth". In this portion we explore open and closed states of being and how they influence our capacity for connection. All movement, sound, and poetry is original work.

 

Play Cafe:  “Tearin’ out the pages”, music and lyrics by Jen Coogan, performed by Jen Coogan, from her full length musical, “The Oregon Trail Pages.” / Musical Theatre; "BEULAH” by Christopher Walker, performed by Loretta Janca. / Theatre

Play Cafe: Berkeley based Play Cafe supports Bay Area playwrights and other theater artists in the creation and development of new works. See our Spring Musical Cafe Showcase June 1 – 3, in downtown Berkeley, presenting selections from new musicals, including Jen Coogan’s “The Oregon Trail Pages”, www.musicalcafe.org and www.playcafe.org

Jen Coogan studied music at UNLV and has been a performer since age seven. She has released two albums with her duo Constant Coogan, and most recently, her short musical “The Morning After my Family Fell Apart” was  produced by LCTC.  You can show your support at https://www.gofundme.com/the-oregon-trail-pages-a-musical

Christopher Walker is an East Bay writer, director, and producer who studied film and theatre at Indiana University, the University of Wollongong in Australia, and AFDA in South Africa.  His writing and directing has won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and he enjoys frightening himself by playing guitar badly.

Loretta Janca is an actor/singer/director/sometime choreographer and writer for such diverse Bay Area groups as NCTC, Altarena Playhouse, The Willows, Lamplighters, both California and SF Shakespeare Festivals, Center Rep, CCCT, PLOT, Play & Musical Cafe, Woodminster Amphitheatre, SF Symphony Chorus, George Coates Performance Works, Roustabout Professional Ensemble and many others. She is a director member and on the Board of Directors for Play (and Musical) Cafe.

 

Amir A Etemadzadeh: Night one solo tombak - Night two solo. Created and performed by Amir Etemadzadeh. / Music

Amir A Etemadzadeh is a Middle Eastern musician, instructor, performer and composer. Born and raised in Iran, he received extensive musical education form various masters. After arriving in the US in 2002 he expanded his portfolio to include world music drums. Amir’s collaborations in the US include numerous performances and recordings with various known musicians and music groups such as Ethel String Quartet, Hafez Modirzadeh, Ramin Zoufonoun, Miriam Pretz, Qadim Ensemble, Silk Road Festival, Cal Poly Middle Eastern Music Orchestra, and many more. He is passionate about promoting peace through music and musicial education. Amir manages his organization "Mint Tea Music Production" and his music academy "Amir School of Music" @ www.amirschoolofmusic.com

 

Advemature: Hummingbird, written by Kevin Rebultan performed by Kevin Rebultan, Erin Smith, Fiorella Garcia, Allyson Tabas / Theatre

Kevin Rebultan is a theatre arts major currently attending Napa Valley College. He has done work around the bay. He was recently seen in Bay Area Children's Theatre's production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar show. Other previous roles include Estragon, in Waiting for Godot with Ubuntu theatre project, Ted in Peter and the Starcatcher at Berkeley Playhouse, and Silvus in As you Like it with Shakespeare Napa valley.

Allyson Tabas is a creative writing major at Napa Valley College. She recently made her theatrical debut as an ensemble cast member in NVC’s production of Sister Act. Allyson is inspired by theater and hopes to incorporate her newly founded experiences of acting in her writing.

Fiorella Garcia is a Bay Area actress who's been performing for many years. She is very excited to take part of the Diasporas Festival, especially in a scene written by her dear friend and colleague, Kevin Rebultan. Credits include: Carla, In the Heights (Plethos Productions), Ted, Peter and the Starcatcher (Marin Onstage), Hermia, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Napa Valley), Erzulie, Once on this Island and Ceci, Lydia (Napa Valley Conservatory Theatre).

Erin Smith is an acting student at the Napa Valley College. When she was younger, Erin was involved in several productions within the Bay Area working with Vallejo Music Theater, Bay Area Stage, and the Solano Youth theatre. Once enrolling in Napa Valley College, she was in their production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ as a seahorse/maid/princess, as well as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ as Mayella Ewell. Most recently, she played Helena in Shakespeare Napa Valley’s ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’.

 

Inferno Theatre: PINOCCHIO , translated and adapted for the stage by Giulio Cesare Perrone. Performed by. Ben Elie, Jane Eisner, Duy Truong, Natalie Farrell, Kevin Rebultan, Erin Smith, Saira Kaur, Michael Needham. Masks by Annie Hallat.  / Theatre

Inferno Theatre is the producer of the Diasporas Festival and a world class ensemble theatre based in Berkeley. We seek the links between cultures and explore the roots of human relationships in space and time. For us theatre is an all-creative state of existence grounded in a resonant body of works that are physical, literary, and spectacular. We believe in live theatre that leads to dynamic and positive change in the lives of all who participate in it, whether spectators or performers. We believe that theatre can both transform reality and be an integral part of the cultural and sociological context of society. 

Giulio Cesare Perrone, is  a playwright, stage director, set and costume designer.  Giulio co-founded the Inferno Theatre of which he is the  producing Artistic Director. Giulio began his career in his native Italy where he directed and designed mainly for the theatre.  He moved to the United States in 1995, and now has over 200 theatre and opera productions to his credit. Giulio has worked for theatres and opera companies including the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Festival Opera, Dell’Arte, Opera San Jose, California Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Works, Travelling Jewish Theatre,  Marin Theatre Company , and the Alley theatre. International: Milan, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Croatia, Hungary,Denmark.

Saira Kaur having last acted with Inferno for the workshop production of the Conference of the Birds, Saira is happy to be back for the festival presentation of Pinocchio! Bay Area native but raised in India, she has had the chance to perform both in the US and abroad, grateful to experience and intake global cultures around the world, something which is highly emphasized in the Diaspora festival! She hopes to connect with the community and share her best with this amazing collaboration. Saira would like to thank Giulio, Pinocchio cast and team and Inferno team for this wonderful opportunity!

Jane Eisner: Writer, performer, and devised theater creator - Jane Eisner is dedicated to exploring work that inspires a change in perspective and draws attention to pinnacle moments in people’s lives. She recently wrote and produced a play, Dear Texas, which was based around a series of interviews she conducted with transgender people across the country and told stories about living authentically to who you are. She is currently in rehearsals for the workshop production of The Conference of The Birds (adapted from the epic Sufi poem) co-produced by Inferno Theater and Ubuntu Theater Project. Jane is the former House Manager at California Shakespeare Theater Company and is the co-founder of SoulTalk a devised theater and movement collective. Jane sees the beauty in unraveling, the strength in vulnerability, and the courage it takes to meet yourself where you are. 

Erin Smith is an acting student at the Napa Valley College. When she was younger, Erin was involved in several productions within the Bay Area working with Vallejo Music Theater, Bay Area Stage, and the Solano Youth theatre. Once enrolling in Napa Valley College, she was in their production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ as a seahorse/maid/princess, as well as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ as Mayella Ewell. Most recently, she played Helena in Shakespeare Napa Valley’s ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’.

Natalie Farrell holds an MA in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz. She now works in educational theater bringing interactive history programs throughout the Bay Area. Her past roles while at UCSC include Alice in Zoot Suit and Hermes in The Odyssey. 

Michael Needham has appeared with Inferno Theatre, Cabrillo Music Festival, Chameleon Theatre Company, Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, The San Leandro Players, and Shakespeare at Stinson. He studied at Studio ACT and the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, and has an Acting Shakespeare certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Duy Truong: I moved to America when I was seven and ever since I was young I’ve always love acting and role playing. I participated in many school performances and shows while I was in high school. After I graduated I majored in acting and went to the Academy of Arts for a couple of years. Now I’m finishing up school and transferring to UCLA to finish up my Bachelor and on to my Masters. I’ve done a few plays in SF and around the Bay Area, I’ve performed for the NCTC theater a couple of times. Part of a couple student films and web series on youtube and other social platforms.

Annie Hallatt discovered masks at the Center for World Music in Berkeley in 1973..she studied Indonesian Dance and Woodcarving and Mask performance. This was built on a lifetime of Modern Dance training and performance from Merce Cunningham, Saida Gerrard, Harriet Ann Grey and Anna Halprin, A.A. Leath, and Jphn Graham. and mask making with Chris Hardman, Antenna Theatre, who studied with Bread and Puppet Theatre. She fabricated for the Traveling Jewish Theatre, Jim Cave at Laney College, Beggars Theatre ands performed with Antenna Theatre in NYC at BAM  and Performing Garage/ Wooster Group.She directed the Buddhas Birthday Pagent at Green Gulch Zen Center for 25 years. Her company “Masque Arrayed” fabricated the “Phantom of the Opera Mask for Andrew Lloyd Webber, after many years at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faires.