Retiro @ Miami Theatre Center

This live performance of Retiro embodies the spirit of the research process of making the interdisciplinary project “Retiro”. Based on interviews carried out with women over the age of 65 in Miami, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Montréal, Retiro reflects on the natural territory between autobiography and the metaphysical act of remembering. Featuring archival and behind-the-scenes footage gathered in the research process of making the film, this live performance of Retiro creates a meeting place for the intersecting narratives of the women that partook in this project. It features live reenactments of the interviews performed by my collaborators, aiming to translate the documentary and filmmaking process into a theatrical form.

Commissioned by  and presented at the Miami Theatre Center in Miami, Florida , 2017

Performers and collaborators: Alvis Hechavarría, Mary Spring, Dale Andree, Gloria María Morillo, Rainer Davies

Press for Retiro:

Interview for Nu House

Article for the Miami New Times

Director’s Note:

Retiro began as an exploration without a particular direction. When I returned to Puerto Rico in 2015 after my grandmother’s death, I began to interview my mother during her progress of grieving. She was 62 at the time, and our conversations quickly evolved into existential dialogues that involved her process of aging and her relationship to her body, her past,her future, her fears, death, time, and her relationship to nature. As I spent the next year and a half travelling for different projects, I decided to conduct similar interviews with women that were the same age or older than my mother in the cities I was working in, these being primarily Miami , San Juan and Montréal.

The video component of this project focused on documenting the participants’ aging processes but also on recreating a memory of their life through film. These ‘video portraits’ also focused on capturing the act of remembering- an act that does not dismiss the possibility of reconstructing these memories or fictionalizing them. Each woman was involved differently in the creation of these video portraits, but they had authority in the collaborative process and decided over the style, content and structure of these film portraits.

During the editing process for the video portraits, I began to question my role as an observer/listener in this project. I faced a crude reality: as much as I wanted to remain a bystander in this process and give the participants power over their narratives, I could not dismiss the fact that my own experiences, confusions, concerns and fascinations were influencing our conversations. However, I also realized that it was only thanks to my own confusing two-year journey that these women could be placed next to each other. I am the the thread between these women who lead completely different lives, thousands of miles apart.

This performance is, in many ways, an umbrella- a “theatrical coming together” of all these women and their stories in one space. It is the translation of a two year process that involves long conversations, hours of production, but also a confused listener trying to find new perspectives to her own questions about aging, time and what the concept of ‘womanhood’ signifies in our present-time.

Ultimately, this theatre performance attempts at an ecumenical understanding of our experience as people, not focusing particularly on one story, but on how all of these women and their journeys interject, intervene and converge.