NERO is a hybrid event that includes both a work-in-progress screening of this theatrical production followed by a panel discussion on arts journalism regarding pandemic art. The panel discussion will be a conversation between NERO artists and critics to be announced.
Written, Directed and Edited by Kyoung H. Park
Performed by David Gelles, Claudia Acosta, Yadira De La Riva, Ariel Estrada, Zach Lusk, Ash Mayers, Sade Namei, Kaila Saunders, Imran Sheikh and Ishmael Thaahir
Original Music by Helen Yee
Direction of Photography by Sanae Ohno
Set, Video and Props design by Yoon Choi
Lighting and Video Animation design by Marie Yokoyama
Fight, Dance and Intimacy Choreography by UnkleDave’s Fight-House / Sean F. Griffin
Sound design by Carsen Joenk
Costume design by Andrew Jordan
Stage Management by Sarah Samonte
Dramaturgy by Jess Applebaum
NERO is a Shakespearean, five-act “streamplay” theatricalizing the history from George W. Bush’s War on Terror to our present day as the rise and fall of Nero’s Roman Empire. Set in 64AD in Rome’s Palace of the Frogs, this “state of the nation” tragicomedy invites Black, Indigenous and People of Color to examine how white male supremacy is the root of American Imperialism.
Kyoung’s Pacific Beat (KPB) is a peacemaking theater company based in Brooklyn whose mission is to work with artists, non-artists, and local communities to transform experiences of oppression into peace messages through public performance. Founded by playwright/director Kyoung H. Park, KPB collaborates with an interdisciplinary and multicultural ensemble of artists--our Mondragons--to uplift communities of color to create a culture of peace through non-violent practices that provide social cohesion, spiritual healing, and radical knowledge. The dramaturgical question behind our work is: why make theater in times of war?
Since 2011, KPB has devised three full-length plays—disOriented (2011), TALA (2015), PILLOWTALK (2018)—and created over 35 community-based, experimental projects including performances for new media. KPB’s work centers stories of (im)migration, queerness, trauma and the ways these intersect in communities of color; it’s described as “intensely personal” by American Theater Magazine and “very much of this moment” by the New York Times. KPB was a resident company at Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, The Tank, Bushwick Starr, Baryshnikov Arts Center, New Ohio, BRIC Arts Media, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Performance Project @ University Settlement, Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (Santiago, Chile), Ewha Women’s University (Seoul, South Korea) and toured to CAATA’s “Radical Acts Festival” (Victory Gardens, Chicago).
NERO received public readings with the Ma-Yi Theater’s Writer’s Lab (February 2015), Sol Project (February 2016), New Ohio Theater’s Producer’s Club (October 2017), supported by a 2019-2020 Dramatist Guild Fellowship and based on research conducted at the George W. Bush Presidential Archives in Dallas. NERO’s workshop production was developed with generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, MAP Fund, and Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation. The World Premiere of NERO was developed with support from Pregones/PRTT, and its ASAP/Artist Space At Pregones initiative, and with seed funding from the Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Mosaic Network & Fund. NERO received workshop screenings at Hillel Plaza – Flatbush Junction and at The Exponential Festival 2023. Production design support provided by the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York). NERO is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
Image Credit: Andrew Jordan