De Lo Cotidiano
In 2009 I interned with former Bread and Puppet performer, Pati Hernandez for her nonprofit Telling My Story on two projects in San Jaun, Puerto Rico.
Pictured here are images from De Lo Cotidiano, the dance theater piece Pati directed at Teatro Victoria Espinosa in Santurce. As facilitator and dancer in this multimedia production, I worked with students from the University of Puerto Rico to rehearse and perform Pati’s evening length piece. UPR students shared creative writing, dance, drama improv and poetry to create a bilingual production. De Lo Cotidiano explored the sanctity of quotidien experiences and archetypical scenarios (such as a mother combing her daughter’s hair or a couple sitting in a restaurant).
Simultaneously, Pati set a work on inmates at a men’s prison outside the city. We worked using Teatro Foro/ Forum Theater to devise a play depicting the lives of several inmates. The multidisciplinary production featured a set created by inmates. This Talking Wall, was an installation piece made of cardboard boxes painted with stories and poems of actors’ lived experiences.
One year later Pati and I collaborated on a two-day, bilingual residency for the Vermont Migrant Education Program using this same format. The idea of the project was to facilitate discussion and community building between undocumented Mexican workers on dairy farms and residents of Bridport, Vermont, a farming community. Participants again worked on exercises inspired by Augosto Boal’s Forum Theater. The work discussed issues of racial discrimination, voicelessness, agency, social equity and identity. We created small skits and again built the Talking Wall.