The Play Company’s Idea Lab Series on “Recent Alien Abductions”


Broadway World writes that The Play Company recently announced a Weekly Idea Lab Series for the production of Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’s play Recent Alien Abductions, which is set in Puerto Rico and addresses colonialism and asymmetrical power dynamics. The sessions are accessible “to anyone with a curiosity about current issues facing Puerto Rico, and to encourage group dialogue around each topic facilitated by leading thinkers and community activists.” The series will take place on March 2, 9, 10, 16 and 23, 2019, at New York Law School (located at 185 West Broadway, Tribeca, New York). [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

The Play Company (PlayCo; Founding Producer Kate Loewald, Managing Director Robert Bradshaw) announces a weekly Idea Lab series complementing their New York premiere production of Recent Alien Abductions, written and directed by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas. Responding to the play’s setting in Puerto Rico and themes of colonialism and asymmetrical power dynamics, PlayCo has partnered with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Law School to present this iteration of the Idea Lab as a series of free, open-to-the-public teach-ins (tickets to performances not required for attendance). The sessions are designed to be accessible to anyone with a curiosity about current issues facing Puerto Rico, and to encourage group dialogue around each topic facilitated by leading thinkers and community activists. Today PlayCo also announces that Maria Cellario has stepped down from the production, and that OBIE-winning actress Mia Katigbak will assume the role of Olga, which she played to acclaim at the 2017 Humana Festival for New American Plays.

Deep knowledge of the topics is not required for participation in the Idea Lab teach-ins. Recommended resources for each installment will be made available one week in advance through PlayCo’s website and social media allowing participants to prepare as much or as little as they choose. The programming is inspired by the Puerto Rico Syllabus, an in-depth guide and robust resource-compiled by members of the Unpayable Debt working group at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference and the syllabus project leaders-for teaching and learning about the debt crisis facing Puerto Rico and the impact of its colonial history. New York Law School (185 West Broadway in Tribeca) will host the teach-ins. Though the sessions are free, participants are encouraged to register in advance via PlayCo’s website to ensure a reservation. See below for full schedule.

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, the author of plays such as Bird in the Hand and Blind Mouth Singing, has steadily built a celebrated body of work that uses the interpersonal realm to illuminate big political questions. Recent Alien Abductions, an acclaimed highlight of the 2017 Humana Festival, deploys magnetic characterization and playful yet shattering storytelling to depict how families-and societies-are haunted by their pasts. Small gestures and off-handed comments slowly reveal the colonial, racist, misogynist, and homophobic dynamics that constrain possibility in the lives of the characters. These power imbalances have been left to fester for so long that they create the alienating nightmare at the story’s core. As the austerity crisis and the aftershocks of Hurricane Maria continue to roil Puerto Rico, Cortiñas’ exploration of Puerto Rican nationhood and its contested relationship to the United States becomes eerily prescient. The Idea Lab presents a unique opportunity to further engage ideas central to Cortiñas’ play, with insight from experts into pressing issues in Puerto Rico, and the U.S.’ disenfranchising, marginalizing relationship to this “unincorporated territory.” [. . .]

[Photo above (cropped), by Xiomara Caro, from Puerto Rico Syllabus.]

For full article, see

PlayCo website

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