Published in At Sea special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly Volume 45 Numbers 1–2: Spring/Summer 2017
The high seas are a locus of migrant and refugee crossings, lawlessness, and of environmental destruction. Academics mobilize the motif of “at sea” on a literal or figurative level, submerging in its flow of ever-changing political processes. A place of transformation, in-betweens, and movement, the ocean unites and divides us, shaping us as nations and individuals.
I search the undercurrent
for eddies, ripples of memory
from Cape of Good Hope to Calicut
awash in trash, and the detritus of time
the angry god reminds
of a terrible violence
Da Gama, Alburquerque, Cabral
in the tug and lull of the sea
The Ocean as Mise en Scène by May Joseph
Harmattan Theater works with the sea, oceanic currents, and maritime maps. The ocean’s volatility is inherently dramatic, moody, unpredictable, and violent. Its flows and flux impose complex behavioral patterns on coastal social life. Listening to the sea and taking its full dramatic potential as the working miss en scene for dramatic storytelling is a challenging excursion into very local manifestations of waterfront life. To listen to the sea’s tales is also to harken closely to the minutiae of life lived under the shadow of the insurpassable mise en scène, the expanse of the sea itself.