SOLVING FOR X: The Education Project
Written & Directed by Milta Ortiz
in collaboration with the Working Classroom Theater Ensemble
and Tectonic Theater Project
Jorja A. Brickhouse, Michaela, is an 8th grader at Kennedy Middle School. She has previously participated in Clowning, On The Spot, and Theater for Civic Engagement with Meggan Gomez, Voice for the Actor with Micha Espinosa, Moment Work with Scott Barrow and We begin and playwriting as an ensemble with Milta Ortiz. Writing and acting are her two main hobbies as well as playing the cello in her school’s orchestra and singing in her school’s chorus. Jorja was also an intern for The Education Project, where she is one of three students conducting interviews with educational stakeholders in order to develop an original play based on the topic of educational inequity.
Elijah Chavez, Eugene, will be a 10th grader at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School. He made his Working Classroom debut in On the Spot as part of an improvisation class taught by Meggan Gomez. He has also studied Theater for Civic Engagement with Meggan Gomez. He is also a Working Classroom visual art student and has apprenticed on two mural projects. Elijah is also currently an intern for the Education Project, where he is one of three students conducting interviews with educational stakeholders in order to develop an original play based on the topic of educational inequity. He most recently studied Moment Work with Scott Barrow from Tectonic Theater Project and devising with Milta Ortiz from Borderlands Theater. He is currently in Drama II at Atrisco Heritage and an active member of the AHA Drama Club and was the lead in his school play for “Antigone” as Creon.
Marianna Gallegos, Milagro, studied Theatre Arts at New Mexico State University and spent the last year performing in San Francisco, California. She’s so excited to be back doing film And performing with such a talented ensemble!
Graham Gentz, Mr. Prentice, has been a writer and actor for over 20 years. He recently graduated from the University of New Mexico, majoring in Astrophysics and Creative Writing. He was the theater critic and columnist for the Daily Lobo from 2010-2015, publishing more than 100 of his articles. Graham co-founded The Hermes Theatre, which produced “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein” in 2013. Amongst his favorite acting credits have included, Einstein in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” with the Aux Theatre, Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Santa Fe Shakespeare Society, Tranio in “Taming of the Shrew” with the Vortex Theater, John in “Dark of the Moon” with the SouthWest Rural Theatre Project, and Christy Mahon in “Playboy of the Western World” with the Adobe Theater. Last year, he created “Wyrdspace,” a science fiction comic book with artist, Jacob Peifer. Graham began volunteering as an after school tutor at Working Classroom this spring. He made his Working Classroom stage debut in ¡Bocón! In 2015.
Raul Antonio Granillo, Jaime, made his Working Classroom debut with the 2012 production of No Swamp Like Home, directed by Teatro EterNEO artistic director, Rebeca Mayorga, and performed in the Third and Fourth Annual Roundhouse Comedy Revues, directed by Mónica V. Sánchez and Meggan Gomez, respectively. Granillo performed in the Working Classroom twenty-fifth anniversary production, Dreamlandia, also directed by Mónica V. Sánchez. His training at WC includes movement with Matthew Floyd Miller, Chaunesti Webb, Joan Bruemmer, and Nicole Javier; voice with Arizona State University professor Micha Espinosa and Yale University professor Vicki Shaghoian; stage combat with actor, director, and producer, Robert Madrid; and Moment Work with Tectonic Theater Project associates, Jimmy Maize and Scott Barrow. Additional training includes movement and physical theater through Tricklock Company’s Manoa Project, where he performed in A Trip to Somewhere, an original play about schizophrenia. He attended the Public Academy for Performing Arts, where he performed in 30 Million, an original play about human trafficking. He has taught Acting Games and Improvisation I at Coronado Elementary School and Working Classroom.
María Teresa Herrera, Mrs. Powers, is an actor, musician and dancer. Her passion as an actress ignites her performances on stage with acting credits including: Real Women Have Curves, Estoy En El Rincon, El Vagón and La Casa de Bernarda Alba with Teatro Nuevo México, Aye, No! with Camino Real Productions, and Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima and Farolitos of Christmas, Shakespeare on the Plaza: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Rosalinda with The Vortex Theatre. As a founding member of Hembras de Pluma, María is always looking for ways to craft her artistic vision to invigorate and promote performance art. María’s energy in music has guided her to become the co-founder of Wamba, a dynamic dance and drum ensemble melding contemporary and traditional African dance and music. When not performing on stage, Maria is serving her community at a local non-profit.
Jess Liesveld, Alex, is returning to Working Classroom in her second production and is happy to be back. She’s currently a senior at Media Arts Collaborative Charter School and is looking forward to her future as an actor and journalist. She’s trained at Albuquerque Little Theater, Popejoy, UNM, and Working Classroom. She’s happy to have the support of her family and friends and her beloved cat, Skye.
Kwetzpallin Mexika, Quetzal, has been participating in Working Classroom classes since 2011. She is a junior at the Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science. She has successfully completed the Summer Arts Institute Theatre Games and Improvisation I with Marisol Aviles and Lisandra Tena, Voice and speech with Micha Espinosa, Movement I with Joan Bruemmer, An Experiment in How to Begin with Joan Bruemmer, Theatre of the Oppressed with Meggan Gomez, and Moment Work with Meggan Gomez.
Analy Morales, Jocelyn, will be a Senior at Digital Arts and Technology Academy next school semester. She debuted in an Improvisation class with former Working Classroom director Nan Elsasser in 2012. She has taken numerous Working Classroom workshops with amazing world class instructors. She’s excited to be part of this production and hopes that the crew’s hard work starts the conversation needed to make a change in our school systems.
Aylin Payen, Miche, will be a 6th grader at Jimmy Carter Middle School in the fall. She has previously studied Clowning and improvisation with Meggan Gomez and devising with Milta Ortiz from Borderlands Theater. She enjoys attending classes at Working Classroom.
Michelle Perez, Justine, made her stage debut in the 2013 Roundhouse Comedy Revue, produced by Working Classroom and directed by Monica Sanchez. The following year she appeared in the 2014 Roundhouse Comedy Revue, directed by Meggan Gomez. At Working Classroom she has studied improvisation with Marisol Aviles, Nan Elsasser, and Ann Cusack, voice with Vicki Shaghoian and Micha Espinosa, and movement with Chaunesti Webb, and Joan Bruemmer. Michelle has also studied stage combat with Robert Madrid, Clowning with Meggan Gomez, and Light and Sound Design with Billy Tubb. In the last two years Michelle has studied Street Performance with Meggan Gomez, Theater of the Oppressed with Rebeca Mayorga, Warm Up the Stage with Nicole Javier, Voice for the Actor and Acting for the Camera with Micha Espinosa, and Grotowski physical theater with Matthew Miller. Michelle was a Summer 2014 theater intern and also appeared in the fall production of Bocon directed by Rebeca Mayorga, and Bocon on Tour, directed by Meggan Gomez. She most recently studied Moment Work with Scott Barrow from Tectonic Theater Project. Michelle is also currently an intern for the Education Project, where she is one of three students conducting interviews with educational stakeholders in order to develop an original play based on the topic of educational inequity.
Cody Kelien, Aesthetics Designer, is a newcomer to both Working Classroom and the city of Albuquerque, with Solving For X standing as his first experience at Working Classroom. A South Carolina native specializing in the field of tech theatre with a focus in lighting design and scenography, Cody has garnered attention for his work with lighting design. Most notably amongst his prior work are two Kennedy Center award nominations as part of the USC Productions of To Kill a Mockingbird and All’s Well to End Love’s Labours. Cody is excited to work with this talented cast as his first Albuquerque theatre experience and looks forward to doing further work with theaters in the southwest.
Paul López, Jr., Graphic Designer, is an alumnus of Working Classroom, where he has participated as a visual art student, public art apprentice and volunteer. Paul graduated with a BA in Fine Art Studio–Photography from the University of New Mexico’s College of Fine Arts, where he co-directed the Art Student Association Gallery, worked as an audiovisual assistant at the UNM School of Law’s IT department, and interned at Tamarind Institute for Lithography under Bill Lagattuta and Valpuri Kylmänen Remling. Paul also sat on Working Classroom’s Board of Directors, as an alumni representative, from 2008 until 2010. After graduating UNM, Paul continued photography through freelance work with clients such as the Democratic Party of New Mexico and the Desert Forge Foundation, an organization focused on providing job and wellness training for veterans through agriculture and the arts. Paul continues to pursue his interests in imaging and visual communication through the study of Geographic Information Technology at CNM.
Casey Mraz, Sound Designer, is a composer, musician, sound designer, playwright, teaching artist and father. He earned an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2009. His recent composition/sound design credits include Woman On Fire (Camino Real, 2016), Quarantine (Blackout Theatre, 2016), Burn This (Aux Dog, 2016) and The Linnell Festival of New Plays (UNM, 2016). He composed music and designed sound for Working Classroom’s production of Dreamlandia in 2013 and is happy to be back. On weekends you can often find him playing with a few of Abq’s local music groups, such as The Porter Draw, Good Strong Rope and Los Metamorfos.
Alexis T. Miles, Stage Manager, has been working in some aspect of theatre for over twenty years. She is a company member for Tricklock Company here in Albuquerque. This is her fourth production at Working Classroom. She is always thrilled to work with the students in the program. They are dedicated, inspirational and a great addition to Albuquerque’s artist community.
Meggan Gomez, Theater Conservatory Director, manages all aspect of the theater program. Originally from Pennsylvania, Meggan studied acting at Montclair State University betfore moving to New York City. Affiliations include Cornerstone Theater, The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and TEDxABQ. Meggan is on the steering committee of the Latinx Theater Commons and sits on Working Classroom’s executive board as Secretary.
Milta Ortiz, Playwright/Director, is a playwright from the Bay Area now in Tucson by way of Chicago. Currently working on Solving for X (playwright/director) for the Working Classroom, 20th Annual A Tucson Pastorela, and Sanctuary. As an NNPN playwright in residence at Borderlands Theater, she wrote and developed Más, selected to the Latino Theater Commons Carnaval play festival, made the Kilroy List and premiered at Borderlands Theater in fall 2015, nominated for an American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award and Citations, and a Tucson Mac award for best drama. Más was co-produced in the Bay Area by Laney College in March 2016 and Ubuntu Theater Project in May 2016 and will go on an Arizona University tour in the 2016/17 season. Other produced plays include Sonoran Shadows (a shadow play,) 19th Annual A Tucson Pastorela, Disengaged, 18th Annual A Tucson Pastorela, Fleeing Blue (university production,) Scatter My Red Underwear. Milta worked extensively as a teaching artist and received individual artist grants to write, develop and produce her solo work in the Bay Area. As a founding member of the HyPE theater ensemble in the Bay Area, she devised pieces to be performed site specifically and on stage. She teaches theater at Pima Community College. Milta earned an M.F.A. from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program and a Creative Writing B.A. from San Francisco State University. Milta’s day job is Marketing & Outreach Director at Borderlands Theater. She is proud to be mommy to a bubbly toddler.
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