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Borderlands Theater Honors Lifetime Achievements of Silviana Wood With Two Special Event

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The events will take place Saturday, October 17, 7PM and Tuesday, October 20, 6pm.

Borderlands Theater Honors Lifetime Achievements of Silviana Wood With Two Special Event

Tucson, Arizona. An authentic Tucsonense raised in Barrio Anita, Silviana Wood was a trailblazer of the Chican@ Theatre movement. Beginning in the 1970s, her earliest works were collaboratively created as a member of Tucson theatre collectives like Teatro del Pueblo and Teatro Libertad. By the 1990s Wood had established herself as a key figure of the Teatro Chican@ movement and as part of the first wave of professional Chicana playwrights. She remains the only Chicana playwright from Arizona to have an anthology of plays published ("Barrio Dreams," 2016 University of Arizona Press).

Borderlands Theater and the Tucson Chican@ theatre community celebrate her lifetime achievements through two very special online events:

Amor de Hija/A Daughters Love - A virtual Reading

A drama about four generations in a working-class family set in Arizona. When Consuelo's father dies her mother, Doña Cuquita, rapidly deteriorates physically, mentally, and emotionally. Part of the "sandwich generation" Consuelo's world is turned upside down as she is pulled between taking care of her mother and the needs of her own family. A seminal work of Chican@ Theatre's dramatic canon.

Featuring a cast of veteran Borderlands Theater actors Annabelle Nuñez, Ernesto Portillo, Jr., Rebeca Cartes, Zarco Guerrero, Julian Cardenas, Veronica Conran, Sol Yoltzin Pinate, Nicholas Rivas, Angelina Duarte, Esther Almazan, Charles Castillo, Bianca Regalado. Directed by Marc David Pinate.

Tribute to Silviana Wood

After experiencing her work first-hand, community members are invited three days later to a live stream presentation on the life and achievements of Silviana Wood. The event features a circle of elders who share oral histories of art and culture of the Chican@ movement in Tucson along with memories of Silviana Wood. Confirmed panelists include: historian and community organizer, Lupe Castillo; community organizers Ramona Grijalva and Annie Lopez; Borderlands Theater founder and Teatro Libertad member, Barclay Goldsmith; Teatro Libertad members, Teresa Jones, Arturo Martinez, FRANCISCO Medina, Mujeres que Escriben co-founder with Wood, Valerina Quintana; and the guest of honor, Silviana Wood. Interim Pima County Supervisor, Betty Villegas will also make a proclamation declaring October 20 "Silviana Wood Day."

More About Silviana Wood

A writer, activist, performer, teacher, single mother, and in many ways, folklorist of the Mexican-American border culture of Southern Arizona, Silviana Wood made a name for herself in a field and during a time when women of color were rarely recognized. Her mastery of code-switching in the barrio vernacular known as caló - a dynamic mixing of Spanish, English, and Spanglish - can only be compared to the African-American vernacular in the plays of August Wilson. Her wit and word play rivals that of legendary Mexican performers Cantinflas (a source of inspiration for Wood) and Tin Tan.

From humble beginnings in Barrio Anita, Wood attended Davis Elementary and John Springs junior high school, eventually earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Energized as a young woman by the Chican@ civil rights movement in Tucson and the protests to make El Rio golf course into a public park, Wood started Teatro del Pueblo with her brothers and some friends in the early 1970s. Through an improvisational process influenced by the work of Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino, Teatro del Pueblo created theatrical skits performed at political rallies and community centers. By the mid 70s, Teatro del Pueblo became Teatro Libertad creating full length bilingual plays that traveled beyond Tucson to festivals around the country and in Mexico.

By the 1990s Wood was teaching Chican@ theatre classes at Pima Community College, and travelling around the country on playwrighting residencies and as a touring actress. She was part of the first wave of female Latinx playwrights - which included such names as Cherie Moraga, Edit Villareal, and Josephina Lopez - to be published and produced professionally. However, many Tucsonans best remember her character of Doña Chona, a barrio archetype who gave advice and chisme (gossip) on KUAT's "Reflexiones" bilingual television show for some fifteen years.

Addressing issues of social justice, linguistic marginalization, oppression, class, gender and sexuality, the dramatic works of Silviana Wood resonate as much today as when they were first written and produced.


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