My mission as a theater facilitator is to inspire the communities and participants that I work with to create their own theatrical performances.
Immigrant Communities In Queens
Since early 2012 I have mentored several immigrant communities in Queens, including NICE, IMI, AYM Studios and especially at Frontierra Theater Group where I was the assistant to group founder Reka Polonyi. With the support of NICE and IMI, I have helped the immigrant groups devise and embody stories around the theme of “belonging”.
Two central artistic practices have informed my work with the immigrant communities: the corporal exercises of Jerzy Grotowski and the exercises of Theatre of the Oppressed. Working in Grotowski exercises intensively can result in a heightened awareness of the mind-body relationship, including an intensified awareness of physical tension (its sensations AND its causes). The group members found that they could apply the awareness gained from the physical exercises as much to their lives as to creating performances.
I used the form of Theatre of the Oppressed form to devise the group’s performances. In Theatre of the Oppressed, the actors engage with the audience and ask for the spectators solutions to a specific struggle. This format created an opportunity for the group members to engage with their community at large and to confront their situations in an inspired way.
I was interviewed by Diario de Mexico USA edition in August 2013 to discuss Frontierra’s performances.
In 2013 I worked as the “Facilitator of cognitive and artistic development” for Tathiana Piancastelli, a Brazilian actress with Down Syndrome. Tathiana hosts the television program, “Being different is normal” and she wrote Apple of my eye, the first professionally produced play written and acted by an actress with Down Syndrome.
Early in our sessions, Tathiana realized that she imagined her whole life in terms of theatre but that she didn’t have the skills to communicate her inspiration to audiences.
Once she expressed her passion for performance, my vision was to help her articulate her theatrical point of view as specifically as possible, not only to develop her critical thinking skills but also to deepen her understanding of her aesthetic preferences and how to use theatre as a vehicle to express her point of view. Some of our sessions were written by her, in her personal blog that you can see here.
I continued to coach Tathiana and served as Assistant Director to Debora Balardini, co-founder of Nettles Artists Collective, during the production of “Apple of My Eye”.
Apple of my eye was produced by Nettles Artists Collective from 12th to 15th December at Teatro Circulo. Followed by a Q & A “Breaking Barriers-Exploring views around the play Apple of My Eye”. For the video of our work, click here.
Some pictures of my classes: