JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology
Conceived and Created by Theater Mitu
from a series of interviews in and around Cd. Juárez, Mexico
Directed by Rubén Polendo
Associate Director: Scott Spahr
As globalization moved forward in this past decade, blurring and yet accentuating national borderlands, one city – Cd. Juárez – emerged in 2008 as the “Murder Capital of the World.” Directly across the Mexican-American border, El Paso,TX has branded itself as the "Safest Large City in America." Led by Juárez-born and -raised Founding Artistic Director Rubén Polendo, and drawn by the vortex of questions within and around Cd. Juárez, Theater Mitu's company members traveled to the region five times in 2012 and 2013, conducting research and interviewing citizens on both sides of the border. "JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology," based on an archive of hundreds of hours of interviews, has emerged as an exploration of this border community's memories from the past, both recent and distant, and hopes for the future, near and far.
A grant from the MAP Fund allowed Mitu to begin rehearsals, culminating in a work-in-progress premiere on July 12th and 13th at the Octavio Trias Theater in Cd. Juárez, Mexico. University of Texas – El Paso hosted another work-in-progress residency in July 2013. During this residency, Mitu created a multimedia art installation for the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts based on the "JUÁREZ" research and interview archive.
As a recipient of the NACL Deep Space residency, another work-in-progress performance took place in November 2013 at the NACL Theater in Highland Lake, NY; in January 2014, Rattlestick Theater hosted a two-week showcase of "JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology" in which Mitu engaged with the audience through talk-backs, Q&A sessions, and post-performance audience receptions. In March 2014, "JUÁREZ" was hosted by NYU Abu Dhabi, as well as in Lebanon at Beirut's Mansion space, for further refinement and development. These performances included post-show, one-on-one, audience member interviews, recorded for inclusion in the "JUÁREZ" interview archive. In addition to performances at Rattlestick Theater during the 2014 Theater:Village Festival, Theater Mitu also traveled to the Los Angeles Theatre Center in October 2014 to perform "JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology" during the Encuentro Festival.
To hear recordings from the audience interviews click here.
To view the trailer for the show click here.
To view CROSSING BORDERS a short documentary on the making of JUÁREZ: A DOCUMENTARY MYTHOLOGY by click here.
The original performance style and approach was developed with and by the following actors: Denis Butkus, Aysan Celik, Adam Cochran, Ryan Conarro, Michael Littig, Justin Nestor - at Mansion Arts Space (Lebanon), NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center (UAE), Centro Cultural Paso Del Norte (Mexico), The Rubin Center for the Visual Arts (Texas), The North American Culture Lab, 440 Studios and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (US).
Additional Performance Credits: Kayla Asbell, Inés García, Alejandro Rodriguez
Stage Installations, Text Architecture, Additional Video & Sound: Denis Butkus, Aysan Celik, Adam Cochran, Ryan Conarro, Alex Hawthorn, Michael Littig, Justin Nestor, Tyler Penfield, Rubén Polendo, Scott Spahr, Jenny Waxman
Research, Interviews and Archive by: Julianna Bloodgood, Denis Butkus, Aysan Celik, Adam Cochran, Ryan Conarro, Nathan Elam, Michael Littig, Justin Nestor, Tyler Penfield, Rubén Polendo, Natalia Salmeron, Scott Spahr, Jenny Waxman
Translators: Guido Armendáriz and Natalia Salmerón
Subtitles: Kate Freer and Natalia Salmerón
Associate Producer: Tyler Penfield
This production was made possible through the support of The MAP Fund and Fundación Grupo Imperial, as well as the New England Foundation for the Arts National Theater Project.