Mary Notari

Mary is tending to “Requiem” by Melissa Tuckey. 

I choose this poem because I am in school learning to be a technologist to try and solve problems caused by the plain-old destruction of our land and our connection to it. Meanwhile, the waters of the world and this city keep rising. If I were to use this poem, I would love to use plants native to the wetlands of NYC to symbolize the destruction of the natural barriers that prevent flooding as well as the destruction of the people who were here first and the continued marginalization of the people who now live in our man-made flood zones.

As a theater artist, my passion is for embodied practice and as such I was attracted to the visceral language in this poem. Its descriptions of our evolving relationship to land, water, and the built environment directly mirror my choices in plants, as well.

Like nettles and ragweed, we thrive among human structures, real and imagined. Nettles and ragweed play dual roles in their relationship to humans: they are both toxic and medicinal. Invasive weeds and cultivated crops. European and American.

Like the devastatingly invasive kudzu, humanity crawls and grasps for purchase along the surface of this world, destroying each other and that which sustains us in the process.

But like the sunflower, we have the ability to nourish our neighbors and leave the land better than when we found it.

It remains to be seen if we will rise to the occasion. The poem reminds us that the waters what spawned us are still there––and are in fact rising. It begs the question: who are the ones who will be reclaimed in the process?

Mary Notari is a multidisciplinary theater artist, cultural activist, and dork. She is in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU Tisch School of the Arts part-time while continuing her full-time day job at the NYU Tisch Department of Photography and Imaging.

She straddles the worlds of theater, art, and activism––worlds that don’t always talk to each other but often intersect. She firmly believes in live art and direct action as sites of world-making, radical joy, and resistance.

She has presented solo physical theater work and acted in independent theater productions in New York, Detroit, Montreal, and Moscow. She has worked with the culture-jamming collective The Yes Men and with their non-profit the Yes Lab.

Mary is an elder millennial with B.A. in Theater from Oberlin College (2007) and is alum of the Hemispheric Institute’s EmergeNYC (2011). is coming soon…