PlayCo Sets Public Programs for English Premiere of VILLA

PlayCo Sets Public Programs for English Premiere of VILLA

Led by Founding Producer Kate Loewald, The Play Company (PlayCo) has announced the complete schedule of public programs to be presented as part of Idea Lab and in conjunction with the U.S. English language premiere of Guillermo Calderón's Villa (March 1-April 1).

In addition to A Conversation on Human Rights, PlayCo will provide several post-performance events creating opportunities for public conversation around the prevalent and contemporary themes unearthed within Villa.

Guillermo Calderón's Villa focuses on the demolished site of the Villa Grimaldi, an infamous detention camp located just outside Santiago, Chile. In Villa, three women have been tasked with deciding the fate of the historical site, where about 4,500 people were held during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship during the late 1970s. Villa presents thought-provoking questions surrounding remembrance and renewal and how communities might utilize a painful collective memory to move forward as a country

A Conversation on Human Rights: Making Historical Memory into Present Action, originally scheduled to take place on February 9, will now take place March 10 at The Wild Project, following the 7:30p performance of Villa. The conversation on human rights will examine how lessons from the past inform contemporary movements for social justice. The conversation is presented as part of PlayCo's Idea Lab program, in collaboration with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, the Historical Memory Project, and the CCNY Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education. This event is free and open to the public.

Kate Loewald, Founding Producer at The Play Company said, "We are looking forward to sharing this powerful play with New Yorkers. We hope it will not only connect our community with compelling human stories from Chile's past, but also spark connections with contemporary struggles here in the U.S. to address painful, unresolved history in order to move forward as a more just and equal society. We're honored to be working with these partner organizations and bring them together with Guillermo Calderon for a conversation about how historical memory shapes our future."

Marcia Esparza, Founder and Director of the Historical Memory Project shared, "This timely showing of Villa is a poignant reminder of the long-term legacies of authoritarian regimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by rightwing militaries in Latin America. Villa, a torture center in the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, draws our attention to current generations' duty to remember the past, to honor victims and to take action against those very same socio-economic, political and cultural conditions that paved the way for the rise of fascism in the region. A must see for the Latin American diasporic community promoting historical memory in NYC."


Additional Idea Lab Events for Villa:

All events take place in The Wild Project theatre immediately following the performance, are free and open to the public, and will last approximately 30 - 45 minutes.

March 9 | Artists Conversation

Writer/director Guillermo Calderón and production designer Maria Fernanda Videla Urra will discuss their creative process for this new production of Villa, as well as their previous collaboration on the world premiere and site-specific production in Chile. The conversation will be moderated by Alisa Solomon, professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the Arts & Culture concentration in the MA program. Solomon has served as a theater critic and general reporter for the Village Voice and has also contributed to The New York Times, The Nation, NewYorker.com, Tablet, The Forward, Howlround.com, killingthebuddha.com, American Theater, TDR - The Drama Review, and other publications. Her first book, Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender, won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.

March 29 | A Conversation with Alfredo Jaar: the artist of The Geometry of Conscience

A presentation by Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, Alfredo Jaar. Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker, originally from Chile and now based in New York, whose work has been displayed around the world.

March 30 | Play Reading - Discurso

Reading of excerpts from Discurso written and directed by Guillermo Calderón, featuring Villa cast members Crystal Finn, Viva Font and Harmony Stempel. Written as a companion piece to Villa, Discurso follows Michelle Bachelet, Chile's current president, as she makes her farewell speech upon leaving office at the end of her first term. However, Bachelet is not being as gracious and diplomatic as she ought. Is she saying what she really thinks or is someone putting words into her mouth?

In addition to these Idea Lab events, PlayBacks- a series of open and informal conversations to share responses and connect with the issues and themes in PlayCo's work-will take place on Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 15 and 22.


Performances of Villa will take place from March 1 to April 1 at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street, Manhattan). Critics are welcome as of Wednesday, March 8 for an official opening on Sunday, March 12.

Tickets are $35 for general admission and $45 for reserved seating, and can be purchased by visiting playco.org or calling 866-811-4111. $15 Student advance tickets are subject to availability (must present ID at box office) and $10 Student rush tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to curtain for each performance, no advance sales, with a valid student ID.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Guillermo Calderón is a playwright and director based in New York. He graduated with a degree in Arts specializing in Acting from the Universidad de Chile and studied abroad graduating from the Della'Arte School of Physical Theater in California, USA. He also has a Master of Liberal Arts with a specialization in Film, from the City University of New York.

His first play as a writer & director was Neva, which won multiple awards including: Best Play of the year in 2006 by the Art Critics Circle of Chile, three Altazor Awards in 2007 and the 2008 Jose Nuez Martin Award. In 2008, he debuted Clase, which also won Best Play of the Year (Art Critics Circle of Chile) and was nominated as Best Playwright for the Altazor Awards. In 2008 he wrote and directed December, which won the 2010 Bank of Scotland Angel Award (Edinburgh International Festival). His recent plays include the duo of Villa and Speech, which premiered in Chile at the international festival Santiago A Mil, and then went on to run at the Memory Museum in Santiago.

Mr. Calderón's plays have extensively toured the world, including Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Portugal, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, England and of course, Chile. Festival stops have included The Buenos Aires International Theatre Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Seoul Performing Arts Festival, Chekhov Festival in Moscow, Iberoamerica Theatre Festival in Spain, TeatroStageFest, Vienna Theatre Festival, World Theatre Festival in Brussels, The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, and RADAR L.A., accompanied by the 2011 TCG conference. His commissioned play Gold Rush just premiered at Theater Basel, Switzerland. His screenwriting credits include Violeta (se fue a los cielos), Chile's 2012 Oscar entry in the Foreign Film category, and El Club (2016 Silver Bear Award, Berlin, 2016 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film) and Neruda (2017 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film) with director Pablo Larrain.

Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York City. Jaar's work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002). Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Whitechapel, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin; Rencontres d'Arles, Arles and Kiasma, Helsinki. Jaar has realized more than sixty public interventions around the world. Over fifty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000.

International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a global network of historic sites, museums and memory initiatives connecting past struggles to today's movements for human rights and social justice. We help sites around the world better engage their communities through grants, networking and training.

Historical Memory Project at John Jay maintains that the recovery of historical memory is a part of the antidote to historical injustices. Through active recovery of historical memory and records from their base in NYC, HMP is committed to cultivating historical memory of the forcibly disappeared, the tortured, the massacred, the victims of sexual violence, and those whose human rights were violated by planned and coordinated actions. They are also committed to teaching and raising awareness of massatrocities and state violence in the public university and grassroots communities of New York City, with the goal of shaping a new generation of memory defenders, promoters, and human rights archivists, seeking truth, justice, and critical human rights.

City College of New York's Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education (CWE) serves a population that would be otherwise underserved by the college, and its courses and educational programs are specifically designed for students whose access to higher education may have been limited or interrupted due to financial limitations, work responsibilities, and family obligations. A spirit of open inquiry, curricular innovation, and academic integrity are linchpins of the CWE mission. Equally important are respect for diversity among faculty, staff and students, and a continuous search for our common ground as learners, teachers, and scholars. In providing its program, CWE seeks mutually beneficial relationships with labor unions, community-based organizations, city agencies, and employers in both the non-profit and private sectors who share our educational mission. With a dual focus on excellence and access, and by reaching out to the community, CWE aims to be a positive force in lower Manhattan and in the New York metropolitan area.

The Play Company is an OBIE Award-winning Off Broadway theater Production Company. PlayCo has produced 31 new plays from the United States, Germany, Romania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Japan, India, Mexico, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. Their most recent production is the acclaimed New York premiere of Caught written by Christopher Chen and directed by Lee Sunday Evans. PlayCo develops and produces adventurous new plays from the U.S. and around the world, advancing a dynamic global practice of contemporary theater and expanding the American theater repertoire.

The IDEA LAB program is an eclectic series of public conversations with artists, scholars and community leaders, focusing on the themes and artists of PlayCo's productions. It also features informal post-performance PlayBack sessions with audience members to share their observations and experiences of a show. From time to time Idea Lab also encompasses events such as play readings or mixed-media presentations that focus on a particular artist, region or issue. All events are free and open to the public.

As the only New York company regularly producing outstanding contemporary plays from around the world alongside new American work, PlayCo's distinctive international programming links American theatre with world theater, American artists with the global creative community, and American audiences with a whole world of plays.

Photo by Alfredo Jaar.

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