James Slowiak (co-artistic director)

Jim is Professor Emeritus of Theatre at The University of Akron (OH) where he worked from 1989-2020. From 1983 to 1989, Mr. Slowiak served as Assistant to Jerzy Grotowski in all facets of the Focused Research Program in Objective Drama at the University of California-Irvine and at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski in Pontedera, Italy. Mr. Slowiak’s work in collaboration with Grotowski is the subject of an article in the spring 1991 issue of The Drama Review and is discussed in the book At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions by Thomas Richards (Routledge, 1995). Mr. Slowiak received his MFA in Directing from the University of California-Irvine and a BA in Anthropology, French, and Dramatic Arts from Macalester College. He co-founded and was Artistic Director of At Random Theatre Ensemble in St. Paul, Minnesota (1978-1982). He has directed over one hundred theatre events, including his own adaptations of Moliere’s El Misantropo and Cervantes’ Entremeses in Bogota, Colombia, and he has conducted numerous workshops in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. For NWPL, Mr. Slowiak has directed The Ancients; Mother’s Work; The Book of Saints and Martyrs; Essential Demonstrations; Woyzeck; HamletMachine; Electra; Love in the Time of Lunatics; Winesburg, Ohio; Deathwatch, Frankenstein, Gilgamesh, Orlando, The Devil’s Milk Trilogy, Don Quijote, Al otro lado del rio and others. He is co-author (with Jairo Cuesta) of Jerzy Grotowski (Routledge, 2007, 2018), which has been translated into Portuguese and Polish, and The Akron Story Circle Project: Rethinking Race in Classroom and Community (UA Press, 2017)

Jairo Cuesta (co-artistic director/performer)

Jairo is a Colombian actor and director and was a long-time instructor in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Playhouse MFA Training Program.  He collaborated with Jerzy Grotowski in the Theatre of Sources and the Objective Drama Program from 1976 to 1986, working in Poland, France, Italy, Mexico, Haiti, and the U.S. He participated in preliminary workshops for The Mahabarata in Paris, under the direction of Peter Brook. Mr. Cuesta has been a guest artist at the University of Paris; University of California-Irvine; The Colorado College; Eckard College; Case Western Reserve University; Ashland University; and The University of Akron where he directed Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. Mr. Cuesta has conducted numerous workshops in Performance Ecology and actor training techniques around the world. He has performed with Teatro Libre in Bogota, Colombia, and co-directed (with James Slowiak) Moliere’s El Misantropo. For NWPL, Mr. Cuesta has directed The Dybbuk and has performed in Mother’s Work; The Recital of the Bird; Epiphany; The Phantoms of King Lear; The Book of Saints and Martyrs; Woyzeck; Electra; HamletMachine; Love in the Time of Lunatics; Deathwatch; Angry Gods and Lost Marbles; Frankenstein; Alice…Down the Rabbit Hole; Action; Gilgamesh; Orlando; The Devil’s Milk Trilogy; Don Quijote; and Al otro lado del rio. He is co-author (with James Slowiak) of Jerzy Grotowski (Routledge, 2007, 2018).  Jairo is also a licensed yoga instructor.

Debora Totti

Debora Totti (performer)

Debora is an Italian actress with many years of experience in performance and research. She took part in the project The Way to India led by Abani Biswas, a member of Jerzy Grotowski’s Theatre of Sources team. She worked with Japanese Buto artists, Sumako Koseki, and appeared in Ossicine under the direction of Cesare Ronconi. For several years Ms. Totti was a member of the group Teatro e Natura, coordinated by Sista Bramini and Francesca Ferri. With this group she has performed in Viaggio de Har a Tar; Ifigenia in Tauride; and All’arie All’arie. Debora Totti has participated in numerous workshops with Haitian traditional practitioners Maud Robart. She has also worked with Jairo Cuesta and James Slowiak in the Project of Performance Ecology since 1994 and joined NWPL as a company member in October 1998. She has appeared in Woyzeck; HamletMachine; Electra; Love in the Time of Lunatics; La Signora; Angry Gods and Lost Marbles; Frankenstein; Alice…Down the Rabbit Hole; Action; Gilgamesh; Orlando; The Devil’s Milk Trilogy, Don’t You Weep, and Don Quijote.  Debora is also a Pilates instructor and reflexologist.

Justin Hale

Justin Hale (performer)

Justin has worked with NWPL since 2003. He has appeared in Winesburg, OhioDeathwatchAction; Frankenstein; Gilgamesh, The Devil’s Milk Trilogy, and Don Quijote. Justin also played the title role in Tartuffe (pictured above) directed by James Slowiak.  Justin is a graduate of the theatre program at The University of Akron and a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Jamie G. Hale

Jamie G. Hale (performer)

Jamie has been involved with NWPL since 2001, either through video and photo documentation or stage managing. In 2004, she began performing. She has appeared in ElectraWinesburg, OhioAction; Looking for Alice; Frankenstein; and Don Quijote.  Jamie directed Alice…Down the Rabbit Hole. Jamie is a graduate of the theatre program at The University of Akron. She has conducted Intro to Theatre workshops through Tri-C’s Arts Prep program and specializes in Human Resources and volunteer coordination.

Inda Blatch-Geib (Resident Designer)

Inda Blatch-Geib’s work as a costume and production designer for nearly 500 theatrical, commercial, music video and film releases has spanned over 20 years and crossed four continents including work off-Broadway and for The Colombian National Opera.  As an installation artist, Inda has been exhibited in one woman shows throughout Germany and South America as well as locally at the Akron Art Museum while her puppet and mask work have been exhibited throughout Europe.  Inda’s work can be viewed in Washington DC at The National Inventor’s Hall of Fame/Smithsonian Institute ‘Exercising Ingenuity’ exhibit as well as in national commercials for Under Armour, JC Penney Optical, and Momentive.  She just concluded shooting for a film project featuring The Soprano’s  Tony Sirico and Bobby Costanza and Dexter’s Jason Gedrick.  Her work with NWPL has included set and costume design for Gilgamesh, Frankenstein, A Couple of Poor Polish Speaking Romanians, and Alice as well as costume design for The Dybbuk, Mother’s Work, Woyzeck, Recital of the Bird; Orlando; The Devil’s Milk Trilogy; and Don Quijote.

Chris Hariasz (Technical Director and Lighting Designer)

Chris Hariasz has been collaborating with NWPL since 2000. He designed the lights and helped with other technical aspects of the Company’s productions. Born and raised in Poland, he has been involved with all aspects of theatre (from writing/directing through acting, stage management and backstage technical help to scenic and lighting design) for more than 35 years now. He is currently serving as the Technical Director for The University of Akron’s School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration.