Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel
Name: Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel
Age: 22, Aries
What, in your opinion, is the purpose of arts criticism?: Arts criticism is the way by which the ephemeral production of artists can be stamped into a place and time for posterity. By writing on the arts, we are creating a separate cannon that serves to document the who, what, where, when, how, and why of art for the present and future. Though criticism is viewed as assessing the quality of the work, it should also aim to root the production in our world. This means writing on the artists and acknowledging their social locations, their personal lenses.
What “lenses” do you bring to a show (what influences how you perceive art)?: Mixed-Persian, womyn, queer, fat/body-posi, BFA Dramaturgy & Criticism, oral hxstorian, listener, intersectional feminist, prison abolitionist, museum practitioner (low-key museum anarchist), anti-racist, small business womyn, caregiver, Midwesterner.
Who is your favorite theatre artist and why?: The Lovely and Talented Coya Paz is responsible for so much of my growth as an artist and writer. She co-founded Teatro Luna at a time when Latinx stories were hidden from view and not given room to exist in traditional or experimental spaces. Her work as a solo artist and poet is inspiring, dealing with elements of personal and historical survival. Paz is currently the Artisitc Director of Free Street Theater, which will be turning 50 this summer 2019. They are super radical history-makers as a company that pays all artists for their labor with competitive stipends, while offering free child care, and championing the free/pay-what-you-can theatre movement. Paz does so much for Chicago and its people—teaching, inspiring, movement building—fostering space for joy and justice for all.
Bio/Website: Yasmin Mikhaiel is an oral hxstorian and dramaturg currently based in Chicago. She graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2017 with a BFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, with minors in history and museum studies. She finds joy in preserving and curating stories that are usually ignored or deemed “lost.” Yasmin is currently the staff Oral Historian of the National Hellenic Museum in Greektown, and also works as a consultant to organizations such as the Chicago History Museum and MacArthur Foundation. Dramaturgy credits include God’s Ear, The Misanthripe, Crime and Punishment, Failure: A Love Story, Cinderella: The Remix at The Theatre School, and The Revolutionists at Strawdog Theatre Company. Yasmin is also a proud alum of Northwestern’s Cherub program, where she specialized in Design/Tech in 2013.