Week 2: Embodying Solidarity
You may have heard about Pangea’s collaboration with Teatro Del Pueblo, the Latino Asian Fusion Project. But you may not know that this collaboration is based on an older commitment we made to standing together in the face of the 2008 recession, a crisis that closed the doors of so many theaters in the Twin Cities. Each of our companies contributed according to what we had, valuing more than just financial resources, and always with the understanding that our relationship will last far beyond any given project. We continue to work together to this day. This is true collaboration. That is how we embody solidarity.
Here are some of our collaborations with Teatro Del Pueblo:
House of Bernarda Alba
In The House of Bernarda Alba, Lorca addresses patriarchal constraints faced by women and anticipates Spainâs fall to a fascist regime. Within a year of completing The House of Bernarda Alba, Lorca was murdered as the Spanish Civil war escalated.
In a series of adventures a young Mexican-American girl named Esperanza brings us into her world as she becomes conscious of the dangers and contradictions of being a young woman growing up in “El Barrio.” This heart-warming family play based on Sandra Cisnero’s award winning novel, The House on Mango Street, is sure to delight young and old alike.
The time is the present: the place is a California prison system, and a Los Angeles barrio. Oedipus makes his epic journey along highway 99, venturing from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As he struggles against his tragic fate, Oedipus is accompanied by a chorus of prison inmates. Luis Alfaro’s modern interpretation of Sophocles’s ancient tragedy is poetic and powerful, a modern day myth.
Lorca in a Green Dress is Nilo Cruz’s surreal homage to Federico Garcia Lorca, the critically acclaimed poet and dramatist. It’s 1936 in Spain, a time of civil war; Lorca finds himself in a state of flux, struggling to defend himself against an inquisition bent on persecuting him for his political beliefs and sexual identity.
Written and directed by Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya.
Bandara explores Puerto Rican and Indian cultures through the significance of the monkey motif. In New York, a young pathologist of mixed heritage unsuccessfully tries to find emotional connections in the city. In his research and life he begins to discover regressions to a primal state. In India, a young woman has lost a baby that was left under her charge in an orphanage. During the investigation of the disappearance, she remembers a past life in the Caribbean where she was a man whose pregnant wife was haunted by human-monkey creatures. In the theater, these and other stories come together through a trans-media staging that immerses the audience in an experience of presence and hallucination.
Día de Los Muertos
For the past three years, Pangea has observed Día de Los Muertos with community-engaged art curated and led by our own Keila Anali Saucedo. What began as an interactive altar at the Gala in 2018 has grown into an annual tradition involving altar-building, art installation, p performance and gathering. Last year, to adjust to the realities of COVID-19, Keila Anali partnered with A Community Arts Bandwagon to create an art gallery altar inside a local art van featuring work from Eric Gonzalez, Kieran Myles-Andrès Tverbakk, C. Michael, Noah Lawrence-Holder- and more. Click here to watch a video about the event.
In 2018, as part of our Alternate Vision Series, we had staged readings of two new works by Latina playwrights: El Odio de un Pays by Raquel Almazan and If My Bones Could Speak by Adlyn Carreras.
El Odio de un Pais (The Hate of a Country)
by Raquel Almazan, Directed by Vanessa Mercado-Taylor
Rape culture becomes personal Costa Rican mythology: A missing arm in the sugar cane fields, a mother and daughter climb the mango tree of dangerous memories in the jungle, imprisoned men swear their innocence to El Crimen de Colima. An autobiographical and biographical series of one-acts that explore histories of Costa Rica from the perspective of family lineage.
If My Bones Could Speak
by Adlyn Carerras, Directed by Pedro R. Bayón
An exploration of identity, family, ancestry, and stories true and imagined. What is important? Who decides? A journey of words, movement, and music.
At Pangea, we talk often about how we do not want to silo communities. We are all multi-dimensional human beings with experiences that cannot be boxed. This is why we are very intentional about our choice of literature, who contributes to our work. We are expansive about the roles that artists play. When we presented the House of Bernarda Alba, a classic Spanish play, we requested Laurie Carlos, a beloved African American artist, to direct the work. House on Mango Street, another classic, was directed by our Co-Artistic Director Dipankar Mukherjee who identifies as South Asian. Our most recent play before COVID, Sueño was directed by Leslie Ishii, a stellar Japanese American director and actor. Each of these experienced directors brought a depth and empathy that honored the work that was presented and also reflected the deep relationality that existed between us.
While we don’t always take this approach, we believe that coming together around powerful Latinx art and involving artists from inside and outside Latinidad creates solidarity. Different voices all uplift as one.
We want diverse communities to show up in support of one another, and the rehearsal room is a place to practice what that means in an embodied way.
Beyond the Stage
Pangea’s program HypheNATIONS engaged deeply with Latinx community on Lake Street. This was a multi-year, community-based theater program designed to address issues affecting the Latina/o community in the Twin Cities. This program was led by Alejandra Tobar Alatriz and Beth Ellsworth. Through HypheNATIONS, Pangea not only devised a play with Latina/o/x community members, but also listened deeply to the needs of the community and provided direct support in ways that extended beyond theater. This program laid the foundations for our current program Lake Street Arts!. Alejandra Tobar Alatriz continued to work with Pangea as the Director of Lake Street Arts! for many years.
Through our Lake Street Arts! Programming, we have partnered with Ana Columba, Indigenous Roots, and more community members and organizations to keep the Plaza Centenario space active with joyful, family friendly arts and cultural programming. We also have commissioned the grassroots, community-created sculpture “The Colors of Lake Street,” led by Columbian artist Hana Bibliowicz. This piece, as well as the process of creating it, prompted deep, compassionate conversations about our lived experiences of skin color.
Other outstanding productions we have presented are…
By Teo Castellano's
This evening-length one-man play is a compilation of some characters that make Miami their home. A jitney (small Caribbean bus) becomes a metaphor for a journey that takes the audience through the bumpy streets of this city. The work conveys, with poignancy and humor, the profoundly rich and textured mix of Miami, in which distinct Cuban, Haitian, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Jewish, Gay/Lesbian and African American influences emerge yet, interestingly enough, often in ways that reveal evidence of, often denied, cross-pollination. NE 2nd Avenue brings attention to Miami’s marginalized populations, exploring underlying issues of racism and social injustice, acknowledging the differences among us and ultimately discovering the common threads that bind us together.
By José Torres Tama
asTheir radical theater on wheels w driven by a live music sound-bed that stirred your soul and a street theater vibe with pop-up food vendors selling tacos. Visually dynamic, profoundly moving, and continuously engaging their audiences, the diverse and bilingual ArteFuturo Ensemble offered a parallel between Latina/no immigrants dehumanized as "illegal aliens" and the historical struggles of African Americans with a national crisis of police shootings of unarmed black civilians. They proclaimed that, "No human being is illegal!", and that "BLACK LIVES MATTER!"
In addition, the production engaged the voices of local poets and performers to explore the attacks on all people of color by the administration, and included a Muslim Somali poet, a Native American performer, and two DREAMERS. We dared to remember that the United States of Amnesia was founded on the near genocide and extermination of Native People, and the first "illegal aliens" were the Europeans who transformed the land into property. We dared to remember that the empire was built on the enslavement of Africans, with their bodies transformed into property.
Celebrating these partnerships and being able to experience and celebrate the artistry all around us is a part of what makes Pangea what we are. You can help us continue to resource this work and join us in uplifting these stories by contributing to our #25DaysFor25Years campaign today.
Don't forget to tune into our second live event of the month- Difficult Conversations for a Beautiful World- tomorrow at 6PM CDT on Facebook Live!