Development of an original theater piece with torture survivors with emphasis on the stories of the survivor’s family members exploring how this ordeal was experienced by each person in the family. We will be inspired by some of the methodology and sensitivity of Teya Sepinuck’s Theater of Witness.
This project marks 20 years of Hector’s involvement with the Program For Torture Victims. PTV is the oldest program of its kind in the US, offering medical and psychological help to torture survivors from around the world who come to Los Angeles seeking political asylum. This project is partially funded by a grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department.
We will create a Forum Theater play, inspired by Augusto Boal’s methodology known as Theater of The Oppressed. The play will be developed with members of the Latino community and will tour several venues within the San Gabriel Valley. With this project, ImaginAction’s director, Hector Aristizabal has been invited by The prestigious Pasadena Playhouse to be part of a larger program call My Story, My Way – Mi Historia, Mi Manera.
With My Story, My Way/ Mi Historia, Mi Manera, The Pasadena Playhouse aims to build a new model of artistic co-creation between their institution, Latino artists and emerging Latino community artists. Through a series of local partnerships, the aim is to increase Latina/o participation in the arts in the San Gabriel Valley, and expand the Playhouse’s reach into non-traditional venues in the region, and to expand the impact of the arts by building community-focused performing arts programming that creates long-term relationships with underserved and underrepresented populations.
As part of My Story, My Way/ Mi Historia, Mi Manera, ImaginAction will conduct a series of theater workshops in conjunction with several organizations serving the Latino community in Pasadena and neighboring cities. The main objective will be the creation of an original 30-minute Forum Theater play to be performed in eight community sites. The Forum Theater method gives community members theatrical tools they then use to identify, explore and dramatize questions and issues they themselves consider important to the community. The method includes a highly participatory interactive component with the audience so that many ideas and points of view can be seen and heard.
This project will take place in three stages:
First stage: Hector will offer introductory theater workshops to members of several organizations that have expressed interest. All workshops will be offered free of charge and at convenient locations in Pasadena. (To be announced)
Second stage: From these workshops a group of up to 20 participants who can commit to attending five additional sessions will develop the play. Their guided theatrical improvisations will serve as the source material from which the ImaginAction dramaturg will create a script.
Third Stage: A group of 6 will then participate in 5 rehearsals of the play and prepare for the Forum Theater which will be performed in 8 venues in the Latino community.
Note: Participants in the second and third stage will receive a small stipend to help them cover their transportation needs. Refreshments will be provided during rehearsals.
No prior experience with theater is required. Participants need only have the desire to participate in a project that explores in theatrical form some of the issues currently affecting the Latino community. Forum Theater also offers the larger community the opportunity to be engaged in an aesthetic dialogue that explores alternative visions and possible solutions to perceived problems. Theater becomes a laboratory to explore how to change the realities we don’t like into a better community for all.
Participants will be able to enjoy the playful language of theater, get to know each other in a creative way and have the chance to build community. Staff members of the collaborating organizations who wish to learn how to use of these powerful aesthetic tools in their community work are very welcome to attend any and all sessions.
If you have any questions, or if you would like for your self/organization to participate, please contact:
Victor Vazquez at The Pasadena Playhouse via e-mail, vvazquez@PasadenaPlayhouse.org or by phone, (323) 577-2188. Or
Hector Aristizabal at ImaginAction via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, (626) 221-7710.
This series of workshops is part of The Pasadena Playhouse’s Mi Historia, Mi Manera program, funded by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. The Pasadena Playhouse is a participant in the Audience (R)Evolution Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.