The swell of live music. The whirr of the cars on the highway. The smack and scrape of skateboarders landing tricks. The overlapping voices in dialogue.
These sounds harmonize flawlessly in A Skate Play, a free theater production in Golconda Skatepark in Downtown Brooklyn from October 4-10.
A Skate Play tells the tale of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novella about Jonathan, a youthful and courageous seagull on a quest to discover the meaning of freedom.
The skateboarders, whose wheels symbolize the flight of the birds, are all cast from the skating community that uses Golconda Skatepark — and many cast members are local children.
Using an innovative approach, the audience attending the free performances will each don individual wireless headphones to amplify the soundscape.
Eyes Up Here Productions, the group producing the piece, originally workshopped the play at McCarren Park in Greenpoint in 2013. Since then, the production had its world premiere at Skateqilya Skatepark in Jayyous, Palestine. In each location, the production cast locals of all ages to be in the production.
Producer Nilou Safinya said with the play in Jayyous, it was the first time over one thousand children were able to see a play.
The mission of the theater piece, Safinya said, was to provide free programming for underserved areas and spark public conversation about liberation.
“The goal of the play is to allow audience members, and participants, to explore what freedom means to you and what it means to think in unlimited ways about your potential,” Safinya said.
“The other goal is that there needs to be more free programming for the youth in under-served areas — that’s something we want to provide.”
A Skate Play will host translated workshops and performances in Jordan and Syria over the next two years, led by Safinya and her Associate Producer Esther Chang and the Creator and Director Noelle Ghoussaini.
A Skate Play is one of twelve new public art and performance projects and five accessibility upgrades to cultural venues that are taking place throughout the greater Downtown Brooklyn area as part of the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, led by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DUMBO Improvement District.
“We were thrilled [A Skate Play] saw the importance of connectivity between the community of skateboarders, the theatrical community, and this location of Golconda Park,” Regina Myer, president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said.
“Golconda Park is located just a short walk from Downtown Brooklyn. It’s under the [Brooklyn-Queens Expressway], though, which is isolating, so it definitely deserves to receive some attention.”
The fund was one of the projects selected as part of New York State’s $10 million Downtown Brooklyn Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
The play had been a total Downtown Brooklyn community effort, Safinya said.
The 84th Precinct police station nearby is allowing the crew to store their tech equipment at the station cost free, and local restaurants like Poppy’s and Moe’s Doughs have provided free meals for cast and crew members.
“It’s that village mentality,” Safinya said.
The play will be showing on October 5 at 5:00 p.m., October 6 at 1:00 p.m., October 7 at 4:00 p.m., October 8 at 1:00 p.m., October 9 at 3:00 p.m., and October 10 at 3:00 p.m.
Admission to A Skate Play are free, and reservations are required. To RSVP, visit askateplay.eventbrite.com.