En Parábola / Conversations on Tragedy

Presentada como parte de la residencia “La Espectacular” en la galería Diagonal en Santurce, Puerto Rico , 12 de julio de 2018 / Presented as part of the “La Espectacular” residency at Diagonal in Santurce, Puerto Rico on July, 2018.


En Parábola es un proyecto de teatro, video e instalación que busca contextualizar tragedias griegas al presente social y cotidiano de Puerto Rico a través de conversaciones entre la artista y su madre.

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“Conversations on Tragedy” is a performance and film project that contextualizes traditional Greek texts within the current social-political context of Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Produced in collaboration with Puerto Ricans that reside on the island and in select communities in the United States, the goal is to create adaptations of these texts with a cast consisting of non-actors from these communities, utilizing documentary film, embodied performance and live theatre as a meeting place for these communities to converge, possibly disagree and construct a new archive of their island home’s shared history. 

This project is inspired by the associations I traced between the initial dramatic discourse of theatre in Ancient Greece, where live performance served as a public forum for soldiers who went to war and the citizens who remained in the city-state to commune, find collective catharsis and potentially stabilize their societies, and the current social political status on the island.  The current status is defined by aftermath of Hurricane María, the recent #RickyRenuncia movement and the mass exodus of Puerto Ricans to the United States in the past five years due to the economic recession that accompanied the 2016 debt crisis. This has framed a relationship between Puerto Rico and its diaspora as one that is defined by time: the time in which one leaves the island, the time when your ancestors left the island, or the decision to remain on the island territory. Because dramatic greek texts have been vastly reproduced and deal directly with the characters’ navigation of their community’s history,  their collective experience of catastrophe and the metaphysical nature of displacement, they can become tools for these communities to uncover new perspectives and construct new histories. Moreover, Conversations on Tragedy is truly a celebration of the act of performance-making: of its generous attempt to translate an ephemeral fiction we know too well into a permanent form through the rehearsal process, and its commitment to the communal dialogue between performer and spectator as a means to reformulate history. 

The first iteration of this project is an in-progress performance between myself and my frequent collaborator, Gloria María Morillo, my mother. Based on conversations between her and myself as we discuss and adapt a selection of greek texts, this performance aims to reconstruct a fragmented portrait of Puerto Rican history through my mother’s memories and  perspective on its history. My mother and I then take turns directing the other and performing the adapted texts, resulting in a performance that blurs the lines between fiction, traditional narrative and reality. 

Conversations on Tragedy has been supported by the National Association of Latino Artists ( NALAC), El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP) and the National Endowment of the Arts & Northwestern University through the “La Espectacular” Residency in San Juan, PR.

Photos by Supakid and Eduardo González