Our work is highly collaborative. In partnership with performing arts and cultural centers, community-based arts organizations, and educational institutions, we have worked with many of the region’s leading performing, media, and visual artists to explore the human spiritual condition and to unearth and illuminate cultural histories of the Southwest and Latin America. Our interdisciplinary productions have integrated media, music, dance, storytelling, and innovative lighting design, and have been featured in festivals such as the International Hispanic Theatre Festival in Miami, the Telluride Theatre Festival in Colorado, the New Voices Festival at The Public Theater in New York City, and SXSW in Austin.
They Shoot Mexicans, Don't They? (Site Specific)
Our May 2015, They Shoot Mexicans, Don’t They? production was a special immersive theater experience at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse featuring live music from Grammy-winning members of the band Quetzal. Guests experienced the Playhouse in a whole new way in this site-specific performance that tells the story of a New York producer aiming to make a movie of the fabled Mission Play. They Shoot Mexicans, Don't They? was supported in part by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Ford Foundation, Southwest Airlines, and the Surdna Foundation through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts.
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Properties of Silence
In 2015, Poetry, science and history meld as famed 17th century poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz crosses paths with a contemporary realtor and her pool contractor husband in this multi-layered dreamscape. Set in Phoenix, Arizona, Properties of Silence centers around a contemporary couple who meet Sor Juana in a surreal dream landscape inspired by her most significant poem, “Primero Sueño” (“First Dream”). As Barbara and Tom come to grips with their troubled marriage, the Catholic Church is forcing Sor Juana to silence her pen and her scientific inquiries.
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Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe
In 2010 through 2013, the company was in development with EVANGELINE, the QUEEN of MAKE-BELIEVE. A multimedia production, EQMB set in 1968 and centers around an East L.A. high school graduate who is a devoted daughter by day and a Hollywood go-go dancer by night; and tells the story of a journey of self-discovery by a young Chicana, whose neighborhood roots and make-believe world collide when she experiences the music of the Sunset Strip and the West Side art scene. This groundbreaking work represented the first time the 40-year songbook of David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez of Los Lobos was part of an original theatrical production. It also featured a unique animated video design by Claudio Rocha. The show was remounted in 2018, once again at Plaza de la Raza, and this time featuring Grammy-winning chanteuse, Gaby Moreno.
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Our 2009 noir-influenced BLEEDING THROUGH uncovered the narrative ghosts of L.A.’s Historic Angelino Heights District and was produced as a site-specific production with audience interaction at the Shakespeare Center/L.A. The production was co-directed and co-written by Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo; and featured original music by renowned jazz musician Vinny Golia and original film by cinematographer Claudio Rocha.
THEY SHOOT MEXICANS, DON’T THEY?
Our 2004-06 THEY SHOOT MEXICANS, DON’T THEY? examined the film industry’s earliest links to Latino culture and was presented by the Autry National Center and the Luckman Center for the Arts at Cal State L.A. Written by Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo, the production’s original elements included choreography by Francisco Martinez, silent film by Isaac Artenstein, and music by the band Quetzal which was also included in the Oscar- nominated feature documentary The Garden.
This acclaimed About Productions' theaterwork inventively explored 1920s Los Angeles when the "Latin" cultural landscape was ripe for export by west coast playwrights and east coast filmmakers. They Shoot Mexicans, Don't They? included an ensemble cast of actors, dancers, and musicians who, along with original and vintage film, brought to life this early period in Los Angeles history.
The original theaterwork spotlights the era 1910-1932 when motion pictures first began to incorporate Latino history and culture into their storylines. It was also an era when California as a place was imagined through pageants including The Mission Play, a Southern California institution, that promoted the region for over 35 years, drawing an audience of over 2.5 million. They Shoot Mexicans, Don't They? is also loosely based upon About...Productions' Founding Artistic Director Theresa Chavez's family of Californios who settled in Los Angeles in 1771, ran the Ramirez Dance Studio, and performed in The Mission Play.
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"... exquisite live music...sinuous dances, and gorgeous lighting..."
--Los Angeles Times, 4/15/05
"The mixed-media approach to the material is quite entertaining... "
--Back Stage West, 4/14/05
By The Hand of The Father
Our 2000 BY THE HAND OF THE FATHER, traced the 20th century experience of the Mexican-American father, premiered in L.A. at Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theatre, and toured extensively throughout the U.S. from 2001-06 at festivals, and performing arts and cultural centers. The show, written by Theresa Chavez (who also directs), Oscar Garza, Eric Gutierrez ,and Rose Portillo, featured the music of renowned Austin musician Alejandro Escovedo, his 6-member ensemble, and actors Rose Portillo and Kevin Sifuentes. It is the only theaterwork to be featured on the PBS show Austin City Limits.
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