FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PEOPLE’S THEATRE PROJECT presents “BETTER THAN YOU”
A NEW BILINGUAL AND INTERACTIVE THEATRE EVENT ABOUT RACISM FACING LATINOS, INSPIRED BY THE PERFORMERS’ TRUE STORIES
NOVEMBER 6 & 7, 2014 at the ALIANZA DOMINICANA CULTURAL CENTER
Mino Lora, Co-Executive and Program Director
C. 646-331-5421 O. 646-398-9062
Media Link: http://bit.ly/BetterThanYouMedia
Washington Heights, NY (October 21, 2015) – A group of Northern Manhattan residents are taking to the stage with their new play Better Than You to speak out about racism facing Latinos. Community-based organization People’s Theatre Project is developing the play, based on the community actors’ true stories. The play will be presented in an interactive and bilingual community-brainstorming event on Friday, November 6th and Saturday, November 7th at 7:30pm at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, 530 W 166th St. Admission for both performances is Pay-What-You-Can. For more information and to reserve tickets call 646.398.9062 or visit www.PTP.nyc.
Better Than You features two short plays performed by 11 Spanish and English-speaking adult community members. The plots are taken directly from the stories shared by the group and are dramatized in a night of Forum Theatre where audience members are asked to intervene and become the struggling characters. Each play takes a look at personal moments of Latino characters facing racial injustice, and reflects larger systemic issues. The first play tells the story of NYC public school teacher, Mr. Nuñez, who is discriminated against, harassed, and ultimately fired by the school’s principal. The real life Mr. Nuñez is still fighting his unjust dismissal, and will play himself on stage.
The second play tells the story of Ramona and her family, immigrants to the country. Her cousin is the first to become a U.S. Resident, and their relationship faces a dramatic shift as she becomes abusive and threatens to tell immigration officials that Ramona, her sister, and daughter are undocumented. “This play takes a close look at the moment a Latina accepts the invitation of Whiteness and betrays her family and her heritage,” said People’s Theatre Project’s co-executive and program Director, Mino Lora. “This is the same insidious process we call assimilation that so many immigrant groups have embraced throughout the country’s history."
Following each of the rehearsed plays, a Community-brainstorming session will take place where audience members are invited onstage to experiment with alternative solutions to the challenges portrayed in the plays. These unrehearsed moments often ignite passionate and sometimes unexpected responses from the community audiences.
Better Than You is the sixth annual production created and performed by People’s Theatre Project’s Uptown Action program participants. Past issues addressed have included gentrification, domestic violence, abusive and neglectful landlords, unjust deportations, and bullying. Last year’s production subsequently went on a 4-borough tour to other communities facing gentrification, and People’s Theatre Project is currently seeking host venues for another spring tour.
The production is always an exciting experience to look forward to, but for People’s Theatre Project it is all about the process. The Uptown Action group has been rehearsing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings since late September using Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), a medium used around the world for communal problem solving, to come together as an ensemble and build their plays. TO is a unique tool because it uses interactive, physical and playful exercises to help the actors explore situations in which they feel either personally or collectively powerless to make positive change. The actors were introduced to the TO methodology through theatre games designed to allow them to critically examine their experiences, and to articulate the collective problems they face. The actors then shared personal stories, which the group is currently transforming into their brand new theatre piece complete with costumes, props and sets created by the actors. Lora adds “It is through this process that we see the community members transform into community actors.”
ABOUT PEOPLE’S THEATRE PROJECT
People's Theatre Project, a nonprofit arts & social justice organization founded in 2009, facilitates groups of children, teens, adults, and seniors through a process of creating and performing original theatrical events that raise awareness of the community’s shared struggles. People’s Theatre Project currently offers free afterschool, evening and Saturday programs for community members of all ages as well as serves as an arts provider for public schools throughout NYC. www.PTP.nyc
This program is supported, in part, by The Catalog for Giving; Two West Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. We gratefully acknowledge The Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation and The Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center for opening their doors to this program.