Monday, July 23, 2007

Wild Mexican Theater at Lincoln Center Festival

Taking advantage of the international theater offered in the Lincoln Center Festival 2007 was an obvious outing, given my recent obsession with that preeminent cultural institution. Luckily, I had the opportunity to experience the crazed, irreverent and hysterically spontaneous De Monstruos y Prodigios: La Historia de los Castrati presented by the Mexican theatrical company Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes.

This work, written by Jorge Kuri, focuses on the history of the castrati, or those angelically voiced young male singers who were, in the barbaric practice of the 18th century, castrated to preserve their soprano octaves. In an environment of fantasy, myth and opera, the play layers the humorous and the sublime with a dash of absurdity to create a fantastically entertaining non-linear experience. With extreme physical comedy and musical interludes provided by a macho centaur, bickering Siamese twins, a diva sopranist virtuoso, a jesterish eunuch slave, a befuddled harpsichordist, a canon wielding Napoleon and a real live horse that prances around the sand pit stage, you know this is farce beyond compare. And when bread starts flying through the air, well, let's just say that typical has long left the building.

Bonus: Meeting talented director Claudio Valdes Kuri after the final performance and learning that much of the play developed through improvisation. Also getting introduced to fellow audience member Tony Mendez of The Tony Mendez Show and Late Show with David Letterman - what a joyous and lovely guy! And having the opportunity to go backstage, meet some of the actors and crew (and getting a kiss on the cheek from Mr. Centaur himself Miguel Angel Lopez!), and seeing up-close the beautiful white horse Mexerico!


Nash said...

Cool Mexican Theater Company:

Fabulosa said...

What You Should Know About Coatlicue Theatre, Shan Colorado Finnerty, Hortensia Colorado, and Elvira Colorado

Photo from MyspaceWe are a group of friends that know and worked with a young woman named Joy Loftin while she was employed at the Vanderbilt YMCA here in New York City. During the length of her employment, several extremely disturbing incidents occurred that cause us to be concerned and call into question the motives and the integrity of Shan Colorado Finnerty, Hortensia Colorado, and Elvira Colorado.

On several occasions, Joy came to work with visible bruises on her neck and arms. She eventually explained to us that Shan had punched, beaten, and choked her and she asked us for help. As wardens for the community, we tried to place Joy in women’s shelters around the city in an effort to mitigate the abuse. However, at the urging of Shan’s mother and aunt, Hortensia and Elvira, she returned to their apartment and refused to press criminal charges against Shan Colorado Finnerty. The abuse continued and one day, she came to work very early, visibly distressed and crying, with more bruises and abrasions. She said that Shan had verbally abused and beaten her once again; that she wanted to return to California, and that she was going to quit her job and reunite with her family. She tendered her resignation later that week. Out of concern for her safety and in an effort to find out what happened to her, we requested an officer from the domestic violence unit of the 5th Precinct conduct a welfare check at their home on Kenmare Street. However the officer was unable to find anyone at the apartment, and therefore could not verify that Joy was safe. We realize that she is suffering from battered women’s syndrome and may be unable to help herself due to the isolationist environment that the Colorados have formed around her. Abusive men are often enabled by their family, while the victim is persuaded to believe the abuse is her fault, and the pattern of emotional and physical trauma continues. Taking into consideration what has happened to Joy Loftin, it is especially deceitful that their display "Altar: El Llanto De La Resistancia" at the American Indian Community House was in part dedicated to victims of domestic violence.

In light of these events, we are dismayed, disappointed, and outraged to know that members of the American Indian Community would commit, condone, and perpetuate domestic abuse and violence, while simultaneously conducting workshops, writing and performing plays, and displaying works and art that would have the public and those who support them believe otherwise. It is a vulgar and offensive misrepresentation of American Indian Culture, and further support of Coatlicue Theater, Hortensia Colorado, Elvira Colorado, Shan Colorado Finnerty and their work is tantamount to supporting domestic abuse and violence. Considering their duplicitous behavior, having them represent American Indian Culture is an insult to the dignity of American Indians and an affront to human beings.

We therefore will not attend nor support any Coatlicue Theater productions or events where they will be featured. We will be encouraging others that might consider attending, participating, or funding them to do the same. Our actions are warranted, and to be associated with the aforementioned individuals and Coatlicue Theater would be equivalent to enabling and contributing to such offensive behaviour. We are urging everyone to reevaluate their support of Coatlicue Theatre and the Colorados, and question the individuals concerned. Until the responsible individuals are held accountable and measures are taken to verify that the abuse is no longer occurring, we will continue with our boycott of Coatlicue Theatre and we will strongly urge others to do the same.