Created by our very own Theater Ensemble in collaboration with Milta Ortiz, of Borderlands Theater and Scott Barrow, of Tectonic Theater Project, Solving for X explores educational equity and is inspired by interviews, research and theatrical experimentation!
Come see what Talkin’ Broadway calls ” one of the most beautiful and important pieces of theater I will ever see in my life. I will remember this show forever…. Please: rearrange your weekend. Go see Solving for X. Do yourself the favor of spending a mere 60 minutes with this phenomenal cast. You will grow from the experience. And, I promise, you’ll have fun.” Back for one final performance after a fantastic world premiere as part of Evolve Without Borders: A Global Gathering of Intergenerational Theater Artists in connection with the Revolutions Theater Festival. Join us for this FREE encore performance on Saurday, March 18th at the Tricklock Performance Laboratory.
Sat. March 18, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
Tricklock Performance Lab
110 Gold Ave. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
The World Premiere!
Presented as a part of the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Siembra Latino Theatre festival, Solving for X is a new bilingual play exploring educational equity, inspired by interviews, research and theatrical experimentation.
The new play is the culmination of a year-long project where student actors have been paid to train with guest artists and interview educational stakeholders in the Albuquerque community in order to bring together diverse community voices and appreciate both what divides us and connects us together.
What are the realities we must face in order to understand the opportunity gap? What can we do to make the education system more equitable? How can this production influence future education policy? These questions are at the core of our investigation in our latest theater project.
Join us and become a part of the conversation!
Showtimes are as follows…
Thursday, Feb 16 @ 7:00pm
Friday, Feb 17 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 18 @ 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 19 @ 2:00pm
Thursday, Feb 23 @ 7:00pm
Friday, Feb 24 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 25 @ 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 26 @ 2:00pm
National Hispanic Cultural Center
1701 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Wells Fargo Auditorium
Videos from The Education Project
Letting Go and Moving Forward, Day 3
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
People have often asked me why I would go through all the trouble of planning a huge passion project and then not write and direct it myself. For me, it’s for the same reason as for my students: because I want to learn from other brilliant artists. Because I actually do believe that 15 heads is better than one. And maybe especially because I’m so attached to it, and to the students making the work, it really helps to have that outside perspective to make sure real clarity has been achieved.
Milta has a great way of asking more questions and encouraging conversation. She knows how to really listen, and absorb what is most important to each member of the ensemble. It’s a very special skill, one that has been a great service to our process. Last week’s exploration resulted in intriguing new images, and have helped us understand where we are going. And I, due to a cold or some such nasty bug, had to miss two whole rehearsals. It’s hard to be away from what I’ve worked so hard for. Rehearsals to me in themselves are sacred, as our ensemble weaves together, creating something daily that will likely never be seen just the same way ever again.
But even without my being there, this thing, that was just an idea of “wouldn’t this be awesome” two years ago, is now in full speed ahead rehearsal. And I don’t need to be there in order to know something special is being made. There is something about that, it’s hard to put words to (many things are I suppose). But it has to do with understanding that this is just the first step it letting go of this piece so meaningful to my heart, and by doing so I’m letting it grow into the unique creation that will premiere just one month from yesterday.
We’re just two short hours away from hearing the new and nearly final draft of Solving for X. I only say nearly final because with every new work, small tweaks are part of the fun. I continue to be grateful in my decision to collaborate with Milta and Scott and Micha and the whole cast. Because tonight, I get to walk into the room and see what we have made together.
The Power of Representation, Day 3
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Last night’s rehearsal felt like it was over in a flash. We started the evening with a vocal warm up (thanks Micha for your great exercises), followed by further development of characters’ gesture vocabulary, and exploring daily rituals. This exploration has the potential to find its way into our performance as a way of introducing the audience to all of the characters without the need for dialogue.
After a short break we dove back into to presenting pieces written by the cast. Again, it seems as though the pieces written fit our goals perfectly and serve to unlock the intricacies of both the characters and the message of our play. They were both funny, engaging, uncomfortable, and under sixty seconds long. I’m reminded how potent brevity can be.
Following these presentations we organically began to discuss what a complex issue identity is. In our cast of 11, and also in our production team, everyone has had a complicated relationship with identity. Between being bi-racial, adopted and raised by parents of a different race, second or third generation Burqueno (spelling?), or being the first in the family to be born in the United States, our ensemble is an incredible representation of the great diversity of our city and our country.
This conversation kept going, and continued to generate excitement. Perhaps my favorite moment of the night was watching a student literally fall off their chair from being so engaged by the conversation. This talk led to questions about how characters spoke, how they are labeled, and what impact these labels have our their individual journey. We began to unravel the question of how can we show that to our audience, and how will it fit in with the arc of the piece.
We ended the night by revisiting a moment we discovered in workshop back in October that hadn’t made its way into our current draft, but that the ensemble believed was worth exploring. The actors were given 15 minutes to put the piece on its feet and present it for comments. What they came back with was darn close to performance ready.
I’ve always had great faith in the collaborative process. I’ve always believed more brains were better than one. Every day of this process has confirmed the fact that it is not my job to empower my students. They are already empowered, and they did that all on their own. It’s my job to give them the platform to share their empowerment with others.
When people come to see this play, they are bound to see themselves and their struggles represented on stage. And if we do our job well enough, they will also see steps, both small and large, that they can take in order to be a more engaged and active citizen in their own lives and throughout their communities. This does not feel like a lofty goal. This simply feels like an inevitable reality.
Here’s to keeping that conversation alive and moving.
Rehearsal, Day 2
Monday, January 9, 2017
The rehearsal process always moves fast. But when you are not only rehearsing a play, but also writing as you go, the process can often times feel down right chaotic. After two days of rehearsal, I’m happy to report, that does not seems to be the case this time. Just two days in, and I already feel that every rehearsal brings us one step closer to a unique and thrilling world premiere.
The first day of rehearsal consisted of a photo shoot, warm up (we do a half hour warm up every rehearsal – including all production team members who happen to be in the room), a read-through of our current draft and a long robust conversation about where we are going with the piece. We ended the night with a homework assignment. Over the course of the next five rehearsals, one hour is dedicated to having each member of the cast write and direct their own moment. They were instructed to create a moment that we haven’t seen yet, one they are the most passionate about putting in the new play, and then taking time during rehearsal to direct the cast and present the moment to the ensemble. It excited me to see many cast members immediate start writing in their notebooks, jotting down ideas they want to try out.
During Saturday’s rehearsal we began with a warm up, and then spent the next hour with sound designer, Casey Marz, as he took the ensemble through various sound exercises. This is just the start of Saturday sound days with Casey. It’s been decided that the majority of the sounds used in Solving for X is going to come directly from the actors, with only a select amount of recorded cues. Every Saturday we’ll work with Casey to develop our sound vocabulary and the soundscape for the play.
Next Milta led the ensemble through a series of exercises to re-familiarize ourselves with devising vocabulary and continue to connect our ideas with the production. We finished out the day with three cast members presenting their scenes for the play. While the whole day was great fun, this was my favorite part of our rehearsal. With each piece that was rehearsed and presented I was tickled by how intimate, inventive and in-line with our goals they were. Every single one served the play, and each highlighted the special qualities each ensemble member brings to the room.
Tomorrow is rehearsal number three, and I feel like I’m counting down the hours.
For those reading this that want some more context for the work leading up to the rehearsal process, I’d like to direct you here. The cliffnotes version is that many of the cast members have been working on this play since February 2016, gather research and interviews and attending weekly meetings. They trained in Moment Work with Scott Barrow in March and August of 2016 and with Milta Ortiz in devising and playwriting in June and October of 2016. The entire ensemble trained in voice and acting with Micha Espinosa in November, and most have also trained in improvisation, Theater of the Oppressed and Clowning with me over the past two years. Every workshop explored the material for Solving for X, with highly experimental exercises. The content for the play comes from this extended training process.
When I set out to develop this project I wanted to give WC students the opportunity to work on a project over a long period of time with many different amazing teachers. It was important to me that this project would unravel and tell us what it needed, and that all of us working on it would be impacted in both subtle and profound ways. I’ve already learned so much from this process, and I’m so grateful to work for an institution where such a thing is even possible. It’s a crazy thing to have 16 minds all working together to create a new play, even crazier still is that so early on in the rehearsal process it feels abundantly clear that we are all on the same page.
I look forward to providing more updates over the next six weeks.
Friday, January 6, 2017
Last night was the first night of Solving for X rehearsal. It’s difficult to capture exactly what the moment felt like to me. I’ve been planning this project for two years, and I’ve been working with the WC theater interns for a year getting ready for this epic project.
As we read through our current draft for the first time, and then discussed it as an ensemble, I couldn’t help but swell with pride at the sheer amount of talent, intelligence and passion that filled the room. From ages 11 and 40-something, this cast and production team are a dream, and the work we are creating promises to be unlike anything any of us have done or seen before.
It is my goal to document this process over the next six weeks, giving those on the outside a glimpse into our intentionally messy and deeply creative adventure. It is my sincere hope that all those involved will forever remember Solving for X as a piece that changed their life in some way and that gave them new hope and motivation for their community, their future and themselves.