Carol Mazhuvancheril
& Maria Mukuka

Actors | Theater-Makers



We are actors and theater-makers who met in grad school and became instant friends as well as frequent collaborators. Coming from diverse backgrounds and cultures, we naturally share a multicultural perspective and aspire to create work that will promote cultural and social messages through humor and fun. We believe that it is the actor’s work to listen, be aware and “hold the mirror up to nature”: to reflect on society. It is their challenge to present these findings beautifully; to be creative, honest and push back against injustice and oppression through their art. This is the kind of theater we envision ourselves making.



PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS

In our last collaboration, we developed, co-produced, directed and starred in Chief Jones: an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, in Lusaka, Zambia. This project funded by the Tow Foundation, involved a majority of local Zambian artists and came to fruition during our summer theater residency at Modzi Arts. Chief Jones played two performances at the International School of Lusaka on August 3rd and 4th of 2018.




IN THE WORKS...


Currently we are in the process of adapting, directing, and performing in a Zambian adaptation of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Together with a cast of local Zambian actors, we will create a production that aims to provide honest social commentary with humor and cultural specificity. Adapting this timeless theatrical masterpiece to an African environment, will not only further highlight the play’s original themes of companionship and the human condition but also give expression to the suffering, apathy and broken promises of development and social change experienced by the Zambian people.

The production will be an exploration of true cultural exchange: marrying contemporary (American) performance techniques with traditional Zambian ones. The performance will feature elements such as dancing, moments of audience interaction in the form of call-and-response as well as music played on traditional musical instruments. While the production will have creative leaders, the rehearsal process during which the show will be created, will be a collaborative effort by all those involved. Each actor will have the opportunity to influence the creation of their character--even translating and delivering lines in their own local language, as well as incorporating specific tribal performance traditions so that the production is a true representation of its cast. We plan to have a family friendly show with at least three performances that is easily accessible to the general public of Lusaka.



THE ARTISTS

Carol Mahuvancheril is a NYC based actor and theater-maker, working on both stage and film. Some of Carol's on-screen credits include appearing on Netflix’s Russian Doll, TBS’s The Last O. G. and he recently completed principal photography on Last Laugh, playing the lead in Paul Lewis Anderson’s upcoming short film. On stage Carol was last seen in the multiple Tony nominated Broadway production of Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry. Some of his other theater credits include Kate Hamil’s Pride and Prejudice, directed by Estefenía Fadul for Heritage Theater Festival; multiple site specific productions directed by Lillian Meredith for NYC based Motor Company; and Marc Wellman’s The Lesser Magoo, directed by Meghan Finn for Brooklyn College.

Before working as an actor, Carol primarily identified as a theater-maker as he grew up writing, designing, directing and producing theater specific to the cultural needs of his South Indian community. One of his favorite projects that garnered positive reviews was his hour-long, bi-lingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, that featured Malayalam, his native language. Carol has also worked internationally in Lusaka, Zambia, funded by the Tow Foundation. There, he developed, directed and starred in Chief Jones: an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, with his friend and colleague Maria Mukuka, during their theater residency at Modzi Arts.

Carol is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association, as well as an eligible candidate to join the Screen Actors Guild. He has also been involved in numerous play readings and workshops for various NYC theaters including New York Theater Workshop, LAByrinth Theater Company, and is currently in the pre-prudction process of his upcoming solo show Song of Joy. Carol holds an MFA in acting from CUNY Brooklyn College, and is looking forward to his new post as an adjunct lecturer at his alma mater. Learn more about Carol Mazhuvancheril at www.carolmaz.com



Maria Mukuka is a Greek/Zambian actor, educator and dialect coach based in New York City. She made her professional debut at the United Solo Theatre Festival where her self-authored one-woman show, Race Free, was selected for an extended run after selling out. She then self-produced a double-bill of solo shows, including a revised version of her own show, Race Free, at New York Theatre Workshop’s 4th St Theatre. Both performances were directed by Zishan Ugurlu, resident actress and director at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company. There, Maria has appeared in staged readings and university theater productions.

Her theater credits extend beyond the New York scene. Maria has developed, co-produced, directed and starred in two devised theatrical pieces in Lusaka, Zambia—one of which, Chief Jones: an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, was funded by the Tow Foundation. Maria earned her MFA from Brooklyn College where she has played roles such as Sonya in Annie Baker’s Uncle Vanya, Sarah and Penelope in Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue and I Will Be Gone. Maria is passionate about African dialects/accents and has given workshops as well as coached for the Public Theater on their production of The Visitor.

Most recently, Maria worked on Shakespeare’s Richard II directed by Saheem Ali for this year’s Shakespeare on the Radio produced by The Public Theater in collaboration with WNYC—originally, a Shakespeare in the Park production. Maria is an adjunct lecturer of acting for Brooklyn College’s theater department. She has also taught acting in Zambia while a resident teaching artist with local arts organization Modzi Arts. Learn more about Maria Mukuka at www.mariavmukuka.com