Playwright Marco Antonio Rodríguez To Attend Opening Night Of BARCELO ON THE ROCKS

Playwright Marco Antonio Rodríguez To Attend Opening Night Of BARCELO ON THE ROCKS

Raíces Theatre Company, Western New York's premier Latinx theater Production Company, will host playwright Marco Antonio Rodríguez on Friday, November 30th. Rodríguez will be attending the opening night of Raíces' production of his play Barceló on the Rocks. This marks the second time that Barceló On The Rocks has received a fully staged production and the first time that the play has been produced in the English language. The play was first produced in 2014 by Repertorio Español and the original run was extended due to popular demand. Barceló on the Rocks has been recognized as the winner of the MetLife Nuestras Voces playwriting competition and Rodríguez received an award for outstanding playwriting from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) for the play.

"Although the story was originally written in Spanish, it takes place in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood," Rodríguez said. "The two brothers in the play would technically be speaking English. A more urban English to be more precise. In the Spanish version of the play we get to experience Nino's 'Cibaeño' provincial dialect with its rhythmic and layered nuances. In the English, we explore the dynamic beauty of the New York, Dominican-York, and Urban dialects through both Nino and the boys." Rodríguez added that the English translation also opens the story up to be experienced both by Latinos who might have been intimidated by the intricacies of the Dominican Spanish as well as non-Latino audiences.

Born and raised in New York City with roots in the Dominican Republic, Rodríguez is an actor and an award-winning playwright who graduated from SUNY Buffalo State with a degree in theater before earning his Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Methodist University. "The Buffalo theater community was instrumental in my early formative years as an artist," Rodríguez said. "What I've always loved about the Buffalo theater community is its sense of community, support and family. Everyone knows everyone and is constantly looking out for the other. I remember my time in Buffalo as some of the best years of my life as an artist and person. I was not only encouraged as an artist. I learned the true meaning of what it means to create community and collaboration with a diverse mix of people. Buffalo stretched my talents to the max: from acting to singing to teaching and participating in outreach programs for disadvantaged youth. It is where I learned my work can truly make a difference." Rodríguez credited much of his growth as an artist to working with local groups like Ujima, Buffalo Ensemble Theater, Theater for Change and Shakespeare in Delaware Park as well as mentors such as Lorna Hill, Donn Youngstrom, Anthony Chase, Drew Kahn, Donna Murphy and Terrance McDonald. Along with the awards earned for Barceló On The Rocks, Rodríguez is the recent recipient of both a 2018 Latin Alternative Theater Award and a 2018 NY ATI Award for outstanding achievement in playwriting for his play In The Name Of Salomé

Along with attending the opening night of Barceló On The Rocks, Rodríguez will also take part in the panel discussion "Exploring Masculinity: What Makes a Man?" hosted jointly by Raíces and the Hispanic Heritage Council. This discussion will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1st, at 3 PM in the Manny Fried Playhouse (255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor, Buffalo) where Barceló On The Rocks is being performed.

Rodríguez said that the work of companies like Raíces, which is committed to producing original works by Latinx playwrights, was invaluable to artists such as himself. "As Latinos, our stories do not only reside in the subjects of the border and immigration," Rodríguez said. "There are many more stories and experiences to share. Companies like Raíces don't just speak of diversity, they attack it by constantly challenging audiences, Latinos and non-Latinos alike, to think outside the box of what they may already know. Many American theaters claim to explore the Latinx experience yet only limit themselves to telling specific stories of the border and/or immigration. That is not the sole Latinx experience. We are many and our stories need to be told. When a company like Raíces decides to produce a play like Barceló, which explores the dynamics of male relationships within the nucleus of a Dominican-American family; a story that intertwines the rarely explored subject of politics and its effects on the everyman, they must be praised and supported."

Raíces Theatre Company is based in Buffalo, NY, and operates as Western New York's premier Latinx bilingual theater company. Raíces - which means "roots" in Spanish - was chosen as the company's name as it perfectly reflects the belief that, in order to truly understand who we are as Latinx people, we must celebrate the present while always looking at who we have been in the past in order to have a clear vision for the future. Its mission is to provide original theatrical entertainment for the WNY region which is specifically geared towards nearly 30,000 Hispanic people living in Buffalo and 10,000 more living across Erie County. The company is dedicated to develop, nourish, and produce modern and original works dealing with the Latinx experience in order to preserve our "raíces." Raíces has also earned great recognition from the Buffalo theater community, having won one Artie Award and receiving five Artie Award nominations during its existence. It has also partnered successfully with many local theater companies including MusicalFare, Subversive Theatre Collective and Road Less Traveled Productions.

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