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Theater Mitu’s ‘Juárez: A Documentary Mythology’
explores stories of the US/Mexico border at LATC
LOS ANGELES (Sept. 21, 2016) — Internationally renowned, New York City-based experimental theater company Theater Mitu explores the history, contradictions and mythology of the ever-complicated landscape of the US/Mexico border in a uniquely theatrical multi-media event. Led by Juárez born-and-raised artistic director Rubén Polendo, the company brings Juárez: A Documentary Mythology to The Los Angeles Theatre Center as part of the Latino Theater Company’s 30th anniversary season. The limited 3-week engagement takes place Oct. 27 through Nov. 13.
Juarez: a Documentary Mythology incorporates verbatim transcripts garnered during a three-year series of interviews and investigations to create an artful yet devastating portrait of two cities — Cd. Juárez, which emerged in 2008 as the “Murder Capital of the World,” and, directly across the border, El Paso, TX, named the “Safest Large City in America.” Gangs, cartels, corruption, NAFTA, femicide, the War on Drugs, familial honor, mythology and hope all appear in stories collected from parents, politicians, artists, activists, factory workers, journalists, professors and more. Mitu’s stylized, inventive take on documentary theater draws on their own Whole Theater methodology and pairs it with engaging research material – augmented by audience engagement with the project’s interview archive and a multimedia art installation drawn from the same materials.
“A lot of our work deals with theatricalizing belief systems, spiritual questions and mythology,” Polendo explained in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner. “When you hear a complicated story, there’s a desire to simplify it and make it a metaphor for good vs. evil or something of the sort. We hope with this theater piece to move closer to looking at one of those really rich complex Greek mythologies that is riddled with all the goods, bads and gray areas of humanity.”
Los Angeles audiences saw an earlier version of Juarez when Theater Mitu took part in Latino Theater Company’s 2014 Encuentro Festival. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary year with a diverse season that “explores who we are and where we come from, to reflect the diversity of a global Los Angeles,” LTC invited Mitu to return with its fully-developed touring production.
Supported by a grant from the MAP Fund, Theater Mitu began rehearsing and workshopping Juarez in 2013 with work-in-progress performances at the Octavio Trias Theater in Cd. Juárez, Mexico and at the University of Texas – El Paso. As a recipient of the NACL Deep Space residency, another work-in-progress performance took place at the NACL Theater in Highland Lake, N.Y. In January, 2014, New York City’s Rattlestick Theater hosted a two-week showcase in which Mitu engaged with the audience through talk-backs, Q&A sessions and post-performance audience receptions. In March of that year, Juarez was hosted by NYU Abu Dhabi and also in Lebanon at Beirut’s Mansion space, where it underwent further refinement and development, including post-show, one-on-one, audience member interviews that were recorded for inclusion in the Juarez interview archive. In October of that year, Theater Mitu brought Juarez to L.A. for the Encuentro Festival.
Juárez: A Documentary Mythology is conceived and directed by Rubén Polendo and created by Theater Mitu from a series of interviews in and around Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. It stars Kayla Asbell, Denis Butkus, Adam Cochran, Justin Nestor, Attilio Rigotti and Corey Sullivan. The associate director is Scott Spahr; lead projection design is by Adam Cochran, Alex Hawthorn, and Justin Nestor; sound designer is Alex Hawthorn; the composer/musical director is Adam Cochran; and the managing and touring director is Jimmy Walden. These performances are made possible with funding by The MAP Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project and Western States Arts Foundation, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and touring support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
A New York City-based experimental theater company, Theater Mitu is a permanent group of collaborators committed to expanding the definition of theater through methodical experimentation with its form. Driven by a theory it calls “Whole Theater” — defined as a theatrical experience, which is rigorously visual, aural, emotional, intellectual and spiritual all in the same moment — the company investigates global arts practice as a source for its research, training, laboratory and creation methodologies. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Rubén Polendo, who is chair of Tisch Drama at NYU, Mitu’s work has been developed and presented at American Conservatory Theater and Z Space in San Francisco’ the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ; Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA; the Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati; Patravadi Theater in Bangkok, Thailand; Kontakt Festival in Torun, Poland; Duoc UC in Santiago, Chile; The Cairo Opera House in Cairo, Egypt; UNAM/CUT in Mexico City; Fundación Grupo Imperial in Juárez, Mexico; Black Box Theater in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Perseverance Theater in Alaska; Public Theater; Lincoln Center Theater; INTAR; Blue Light; the Juilliard School; New York University; NAATCO; the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts; and New York Theatre Workshop. Mitu maintains a dynamic education program in which company members teach Mitu’s Whole Theater training methodology at several institutions including NYU, Juilliard, Bard College, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, National University of Mexico, Brigham Young University, the National Theater Institute at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the CUNY Graduate Program and more. Based in New York City, and company-in-residence at New York University Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Theater Mitu continues to create, develop and present work in the U.S. and internationally.
The Latino Theater Company is dedicated to providing a world-class arts center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed; and a place where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas contribute to the future. Each production in its 2016 season was selected to explore a unique story about who we are and where we come from to reflect the diversity of a global Los Angeles. LTC is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary and its 10th year operating The Los Angeles Theatre Center, a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a landmark building in Downtown’s Historic Core.
Performances of Juárez: A Documentary Mythology take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from Oct. 27 through Nov. 13. Tickets range from $24 – $38. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to www.thelatc.org.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Juárez: A Documentary Mythology’
Juárez: A Documentary Mythology — Internationally renowned, New York City-based experimental theater company Theater Mitu explores the history, contradictions and mythology of the ever-complicated landscape of the US/Mexico border in a uniquely theatrical multi-media event. Led by Juárez born-and-raised artistic director Rubén Polendo, the company incorporates verbatim transcripts garnered during a two-year series of interviews and investigations to create a devastating portrait of two cities — Cd. Juárez, which emerged in 2008 as the “Murder Capital of the World,” and, directly across the border, El Paso, TX, named the “Safest Large City in America.”
• Conceived and directed by Rubén Polendo
• Created by Theater Mitu from a series of interviews in and around Cd. Juárez, Mexico
• Made possible with funding by The MAP Fund, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project and Western States Arts Foundation, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and touring support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
• Presented by The Latino Theater Company
Performances: Oct. 27 – Nov. 13
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 27 (opening night); Nov. 3, 10
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 28; Nov. 4, 11
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 29; Nov. 5, 12
• Sundays at 3 p.m.: Oct. 30; Nov. 6, 13
The Los Angeles Theatre Center
Tom Bradley Theater
514 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles CA 90013
• To purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to www.thelatc.org
• For group sales, call (213) 489-0994
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