Northwestern University Press
Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater
with Full One-Man Play Script of
ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS
by José Torres-Tama
Reading & Signing: Alvar Library Thursday, November 14th
913 Alvar St. 6–7:30 pm Free & Open to the Public
Edited by Trevor Boffone, Teresa Marrero, and Chantal Rodriguez
Extraterrestres, Inmigrantes y Otros Malhechores
José Torres-Tama, poeta, dramaturgo, y actor premiado de performance
Northwestern University Press ha publicado el guión completo de una obra satírica de teatro llamada Extraterrestres en un libro titulado, “Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the American Theatre.” Recientemente publicado, la liberia Alvar presenta al escritor y actor.
Biblioteca Alvar. 913 Alvar St. 5 Jueves Septiembre 6 pm.
This anthology has its origins in the Encuentro theater festival, which was produced by the Latino Theater Company in association with the Latinx Theatre Commons in Los Angeles in 2014. Encuentro means “an encounter,” and meetings form a core theme in these six groundbreaking plays, each prefaced by a critical introduction from a leading Latinx theater scholar.
Playwrights Ruben C. Gonzalez, José Torres-Tama, Rickerby Hinds, Mariana Carreño King, Javier Antonio González, and Evelina Fernández exhibit a wide range of aesthetic approaches, dramatic structures, and themes, ranging from marriage, gentrification, racial and gendered violence, migration, and the ever-present politics of the U.S.–Mexico border.
There is power in the communal experience of creating, witnessing, and participating in theater festivals. This anthology is a testament to that power and seeks to document the historic festival as well as to make these works available to a wider audience.
Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater addresses interests of general audiences committed to the performing arts; scholars and students of Latinx, gender, and ethnic studies; university, college, and high school theater programs; and regional theaters looking to diversify their programming.
Northwestern University Press Link:
The intro to José Torres-Tama’s ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS, & OTHER EVILDOERS one-man play script is done by renowned Chicana Scholar Dr. Tiffany Lopez.
In ALIENS, José Torres-Tama performs the stories of Latin American immigrant reconstruction workers, and their struggles with wage theft, challenging working conditions, and brutal deportations in a city that they have helped to rebuild.
As the 14th anniversary the storm nears in 2019, immigrants have been forgotten, and they are being disappeared through deportations. The published ALIENS performance script and the show itself honors the contributions of our immigrants workers, who have given their sweat, labor, and love to our rebirth. It’s the job of the artist to remember the people’s truth, and there is no greater neglected truth than that of immigrants who have rebuilt New Orleans, states Torres-Tama.
The ALVAR Library will host a signing and a performance reading of this Ecunetro Anthology with José Torres-Tama on Thiursday, September 5 form 6-7:30pm
Alvar Library is located at 913 Alvar Street in the Bywater.
This event is sponsored by a grant from Poets & Writers Magazine.
About the playwrights and poet:
Ecuadorian-born José Torres-Tama is recipient of a prestigious MAP Fund Award for his radical theater on wheels called the Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras project. Also, he is an NEA award-wining performance activist, and published poet and playwright.
His performance work challenges the anti-immigrant hysteria head on, and exposes the hypocrisies of the United States of Amnesia, which seduces it’s citizenry to embrace forgetting that it politically dehumanizes the same people whose labor it readily exploits.
Diálogos Books New Orleans has published Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares, a debut collection of twenty-five years of poems from 1989 to 2014.
ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS, a sci-fi Latino noir solo performance, satirizes the absurd status of immigrants as “extraterrestrials.” Torres-Tama deftly shape-shifts into a variety of complex “alien’ characters, and they challenge a “freedom-loving” nation that has migrated deep into the “Dark Side.”
It includes a Honduran reconstruction worker whose hand is crushed while rebuilding New Orleans; a New Orleans Mexican Methodist Minister who implores us to see the Christ figure in the persecuted immigrant; a Nicaraguan woman who retells her dramatic border-crossing story to escape a Civil War when she was just eight years old; and a hilarious Chicano-accented Pachuco character who warns against politicians looking to “take America back!” Pachuco asks, how far back because 1950 was not a good time to be even a white woman back then?
Inspired by filmed interviews with immigrants who have shared their epic border-crossing stories with the artist, the one-man play script offers the literary and poetic texts of a performance that is selling out theater houses across the country because it takes the Immigration issue head on.
ALIENS has been critically acclaimed for putting a human face and heart of an immigrant people escaping persecution in search of a dream in the beacon of democracy, states the artist.
The performance is timely, intelligent, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and quite funny. In Aliens, audiences are able to see a performance artist at the top of his game. Aliens is a necessary theatre that sparks conversations about the hardships faced by the undocumented community and asks audiences to consider what we might do to address these inadequacies. —The Theatre Times
Full Theatre Times Review Link:
ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by MECA (Houston) in partnership with GALA Hispanic Theatre (D.C.), and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center (New Orleans) and the NPN. For more information: www.npnweb.org.
This Taco Truck Kills Fascists is the documentary on his theater on wheels performance project and won Best Louisiana Feature at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival.s
Rodrigo Dorfman, the award-winning Chilean filmmaker, directed it, and it’s been making the national film circuit with a screening at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival in February, where it received strong critical support.
REMEZCLA San Francisco Online Preview Jan 2019:
BeyondChron Review Jan 29, 2019:
IndyGrits Film Fest Press Link:
Among other awards, Torres-Tama is a Louisiana Theater Fellow, in 2019 he received his 3rd National Performance Network Creation Fund commissioning award for his latest project titled United Sates of Amnesia: from Fugitive Slave Act to Zero Tolerance.
As a journalist and writer, he contributed commentaries to NPR’s Latino USA news journal from 2006 to 2011. He explored the many challenges of life in post-Katrina New Orleans, and the myriad human rights violations experienced by Latin American immigrants who reconstructed the city from it’s flooded deathbed.
As a writer/poet, performance and visual artist, he explores the effects of media on race relations, the underbelly of the “North American Dream” mythology, and the anti-immigrant hysteria currently gripping the USA since 9/11.
Since 1995, he has toured his genre-bending solos nationally and internationally. Across the Atlantic, he has performed at Roehampton University and Live Art Development in London; the Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool; the Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwyth, Wales; the Castle of the Imagination Performance Festival in Poland; and Performance Festivals in Maribor, Slovenia and Mexico City.
In the academy, Duke, Vanderbilt, Cornell, LSU, OSU, and many others have presented his performances and lectures on art as a tool for social change. Theaters like Performance Space 122 and Theater for the New City in New York, GALA Hispanic Theatre in DC, and the Los Angeles Theater Center have also presented his shows.
In 2013, he received a 2nd National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Award to develop the Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras, and has since transformed a donated vehicle into a mobile theater that is touring across the country.