Juarez: A Documentary Mythology
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Internationally renowned New York City-based experimental theater company Theater Mitu explores the history, contradictions and mythology of the ever-complicated landscape of the US/Mexico border in a uniquely theatrical multi-media event. Led by Juárez born-and-raised artistic director Rubén Polendo, the company brings Juárez: A Documentary Mythology to The Los Angeles Theatre Center as part of the Latino Theater Company’s 30th anniversary season. The limited 3-week engagement takes place Oct. 27 through Nov. 13.
Juarez: a Documentary Mythology incorporates verbatim transcripts garnered during a three-year series of interviews and investigations to create an artful yet devastating portrait of two cities — Cd. Juárez, which emerged in 2008 as the “Murder Capital of the World,” and, directly across the border, El Paso, TX, named the “Safest Large City in America.” Gangs, cartels, corruption, NAFTA, femicide, the War on Drugs, familial honor, mythology and hope all appear in stories collected from parents, politicians, artists, activists, factory workers, journalists, professors and more. Mitu’s stylized, inventive take on documentary theater draws on their own Whole Theater methodology and pairs it with engaging research material – augmented by audience engagement with the project’s interview archive and a multimedia art installation drawn from the same materials.
“A lot of our work deals with theatricalizing belief systems, spiritual questions and mythology,” Polendo explained in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner. “When you hear a complicated story, there’s a desire to simplify it and make it a metaphor for good vs. evil or something of the sort. We hope with this theater piece to move closer to looking at one of those really rich complex Greek mythologies that is riddled with all the goods, bads and gray areas of humanity.”
Juárez: A Documentary Mythology is conceived and directed by Rubén Polendo and created by Theater Mitu from a series of interviews in and around Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. It stars Kayla Asbell, Denis Butkus, Adam Cochran, Justin Nestor, Attilio Rigotti and Corey Sullivan. The associate director is Scott Spahr; lead projection design is by Adam Cochran, Alex Hawthorn, and Justin Nestor; sound designer is Alex Hawthorn; the composer/musical director is Adam Cochran; and the managing and touring director is Jimmy Walden.
A New York City-based experimental theater company, Theater Mitu is a permanent group of collaborators committed to expanding the definition of theater through methodical experimentation with its form. Driven by a theory it calls “Whole Theater” — defined as a theatrical experience, which is rigorously visual, aural, emotional, intellectual and spiritual all in the same moment — the company investigates global arts practice as a source for its research, training, laboratory and creation methodologies. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Rubén Polendo, who is chair of Tisch Drama at NYU, Mitu’s work has been developed and presented at theatres around the world.
Performances of Juárez: A Documentary Mythology take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from Oct. 27 through Nov. 13. Tickets range from $24 – $38. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to www.thelatc.org.