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The Play Company Announces Weekly Idea Lab Series And Cast Change

The Play Company (PlayCo; Founding Producer Kate Loewald, Managing Director Robert Bradshaw) announces a weekly Idea Lab series complementing their New York premiere production of Recent Alien Abductions, written and directed by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas. Responding to the play's setting in Puerto Rico and themes of colonialism and asymmetrical power dynamics, PlayCo has partnered with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Law School to present this iteration of the Idea Lab as a series of free, open-to-the-public teach-ins (tickets to performances not required for attendance). The sessions are designed to be accessible to anyone with a curiosity about current issues facing Puerto Rico, and to encourage group dialogue around each topic facilitated by leading thinkers and community activists. Today PlayCo also announces that Maria Cellario has stepped down from the production, and that OBIE-winning actress Mia Katigbak will assume the role of Olga, which she played to acclaim at the 2017 Humana Festival for New American Plays.

Deep knowledge of the topics is not required for participation in the Idea Lab teach-ins. Recommended resources for each installment will be made available one week in advance through PlayCo's website and social media allowing participants to prepare as much or as little as they choose. The programming is inspired by the Puerto Rico Syllabus, an in-depth guide and robust resource-compiled by members of the Unpayable Debt working group at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Social Difference and the syllabus project leaders-for teaching and learning about the debt crisis facing Puerto Rico and the impact of its colonial history. New York Law School (185 West Broadway in Tribeca) will host the teach-ins. Though the sessions are free, participants are encouraged to register in advance via PlayCo's website to ensure a reservation. See below for full schedule.

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, the author of plays such as Bird in the Hand and Blind Mouth Singing, has steadily built a celebrated body of work that uses the interpersonal realm to illuminate big political questions. Recent Alien Abductions, an acclaimed highlight of the 2017 Humana Festival, deploys magnetic characterization and playful yet shattering storytelling to depict how families-and societies-are haunted by their pasts. Small gestures and off-handed comments slowly reveal the colonial, racist, misogynist, and homophobic dynamics that constrain possibility in the lives of the characters. These power imbalances have been left to fester for so long that they create the alienating nightmare at the story's core. As the austerity crisis and the aftershocks of Hurricane Maria continue to roil Puerto Rico, Cortiñas' exploration of Puerto Rican nationhood and its contested relationship to the United States becomes eerily prescient. The Idea Lab presents a unique opportunity to further engage ideas central to Cortiñas' play, with insight from experts into pressing issues in Puerto Rico, and the U.S.' disenfranchising, marginalizing relationship to this "unincorporated territory."

The cast of Recent Alien Abductions includes Mia Katigbak (The Trial of the Catonsville Nine; Recent Alien Abductions, Louisville), Daniel Duque-Estrada (Native Gardens, Othello at Trinity Rep), Vivia Font (PlayCo's Villa, Fernando at The New Ohio), Yetta Gottesman (The Last Days of Judas Iscariotat The Public, Women's Project Theater's Touch), Ronete Levenson (Recent Alien Abductions at Actors Theater of Louisville, Our Town at Barrow Street), and Rafael Sardina (Jorge Cortiñas' Sleepwalkers with Alliance Theatre Company, Sea of Tranquility at Atlantic Theater). The creative team includes Adam Rigg (Set Design), Fabian Fidel Aguilar (Costume Design), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Design), and Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design and Original Composition).

Idea Lab Schedule & Descriptions

Moderators are subject to change.

(Deep) Roots of the Debt Crisis: the Colonial Context
Saturday, March 2 at 4:30pm
Led by: Marisol LeBrón, Assistant Professor in Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas, Austin

The Debt Crisis Era: How Did Puerto Rico Become One of the Most Indebted Places in the World?
Saturday, March 9 at 4:30pm
Led by: Ed Morales, Journalist, author and adjunct professor at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

The Impact of Hurricane Maria: How the Devastation Was Not a "Natural" Disaster
Sunday, March 10 at 12pm
Led by: Huáscar Robles,Journalist, photographer and documentarian

The "Emptying Island" - How Mass Migrations Are Reconfiguring Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Saturday March 16, 4:30pm
Led by: Frances Negrón-Muntaner, leading scholar of Latino studies, author, filmmaker and Columbia University professor

Debtless Futures - How the Crisis Is Producing New Ways of Thinking and Acting in the World
Saturday, March 23 at 4:30pm
Led by: Monxo Lopez, researcher, professor, cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental and urban justice activist

These events are free and open to the public, but reservations are strongly encouraged. For registration information, please visit

Performances of Recent Alien Abductions will take place February 24 - March 24, 2019-Tuesdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 3pm-at Walkerspace (46 Walker Street, New York, NY). Critics are welcome Friday & Saturday, March 1 & 2, at 7:30pm for an official opening on Sunday, March 3, at 7pm.

Tickets are currently on sale,and can be purchased by visiting or calling 866 811 4111. Regular prices are $35 General Admission/$45 Premium Reserved. $15 student tickets can be purchased in advance with a valid school ID presented at will call. Group rates and discounts for teachers, librarians, first responders, and active duty personnel will also be available-call 212.389.2977 for details.

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