Chilean Playwright/Director Manuela Infante's ESTADO VEGETAL Runs May 2-3
Baryshnikov Arts Center presents Estado Vegetal (Vegetative State), an exuberant and polyphonic one-woman show written and directed by Manuela Infante,one of the most prolific voices in contemporary Chilean and Latin American theater (May 2-3). Created by an all-woman team and developed in part during a 2016 BAC Artist Residency, the individual stories of Estado Vegetal-in a dexterous performance by Marcela Salinas-branch out from a motorcyclist's collision with a tree and proceed to imagine a scenario in which plants decide to reclaim their kingdom. Probing the concepts of plant intelligence and communication, the work examines the impossibility of dialogue between humans and plants and proposes a post-anthropocentric theater.Infante says, "I believe the speculative exercise to be fundamental for a profound transformation of the way we understand ourselves as beings in the world. To conjecture that the world is more than a construction of the human being, to remember that we are surrounded by forces, beings and other things that exceed what we know or will ever know about them, is a practice that I consider absolutely necessary today." In Estado Vegetal, Infante subverts the assumed hierarchies of existence that place humanity above everything on the planet. The script itself is arboreal, with individual stories branching out from a single event. Using a looping pedal, Marcela Salinas can de-individuate herself and speak as many, and she and Infante have considered how theatrical time and movement can express the passage of time outside the human experience.
Infante has been making theater since 2001, when she founded the acclaimed Teatro de Chile, which disbanded in 2016; she has, through varied approaches, challenged anthropocentrism in her theater now for a decade. The writer/director often takes theoretical texts as the kicking-off points of her work, and Estado Vegetal was inspired by the revolutionary thinking of philosopher Michael Marder and neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso. The latter writes, in his 2015 book Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence, "Plants could live very well without us, in general. But without them we would die out very quickly. And yet in many languages...expressions such as 'to vegetate' or 'to be a vegetable' are used to indicate a condition of life reduced to the minimum. 'Vegetable, to whom?'...If plants could speak, maybe that would be one of their first questions to us."
The creative team includes Rocío Hernández (design), Ignacia Pizarro (prop design and construction), and Carmina Infante (producer). Supertitles are by Alex Waghorn, with translation by Bruce Gibbons, Alexandra Ripp, and British Council Chile. Co-production: Fundación Teatro a Mil. BAC Story by Alexandra Ripp, https://bacnyc.org/explore/bac-stories/story/bac-story-manuela-infante
Performance Schedule and Tickets
Manuela Infante's Estado Vegetal is performed in Spanish with English supertitles. Performances, which run 90 minutes, take place May 2 & May 3 at 7:30pm in BAC's Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 West 37th Street. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at bacnyc.org.
Estado Vegetal was developed, in part, during a BAC Artist Residency. Leadership support for international residencies at BAC is provided by the Ford Foundation.
This engagement of Manuela Infante is made possible through Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
BAC's presentation of the New York Premiere of Estado Vegetal is supported by the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce.
Baryshnikov Arts Center Acknowledgements
Baryshnikov Arts Center is grateful for the support of its generous individual and institutional annual fund donors in 2017--2019.
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Baryshnikov Arts Center is also grateful for support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Funding is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Yamaha is the official piano of the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
About Manuela Infante
Manuela Infante is a Chilean theater playwright, director, scriptwriter, and musician. She is well known for offering scenic articulations of complex theoretical issues. With her group Teatro de Chile (2002-2016) she wrote and directed work with the permanent support of the Chilean Funds for the Arts.
Four of her plays have been published and translated into English and Italian. Her work has toured the U.S, Argentina, Brazil, Perú, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Korea, and Japan. She has produced work with Hebbel am Uffer (Berlin), Festival de Modena (Italy), The Watermill Center (New York), FIBA (Buenos Aires), and FITAM (Santiago). In 2015 she was the first woman to be appointed director of The National Festival for Dramaturgy (Muestra Nacional) in Chile. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Analysis from University of Amsterdam.
About Baryshnikov Arts Center
BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov, who sought to build an arts center in New York City that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world. Located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, BAC comprises a total of 20,000 square feet, including the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, which opened in 2010; the Howard Gilman Performance Space, a black box performance space seating 136 people; four column-free studios; and office space. BAC serves approximately 500 artists and more than 22,000 audience members annually through presentations and artist residencies.