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Posts Tagged Palabras Project

Build the Table

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When I first heard about Other Tiger Productions, what I admired most was its intention to cross cultural lines to create a multi-talented, inclusive organization.  In a world where inclusivity often means permission for a seat at the dominant table, Other Tiger Productions proactively built an already diverse table of its own.

What surprised me as I read my program for The Palabras Project while awaiting the start of this past Sunday’s performance was the list of collaborating artists–36 in all–on top of the five featured master artists from the Twin Cities’ Latino/Chicano/Spanish communities.  The first names of the 36 ranged from Akiko to Odin; their last names, Cervantes to Rhomberg.

In their letter to patrons, Other Tiger’s co-founders, Jessica Huang and Ricardo Vazquez, claim to “work to bring artists and audiences together to celebrate a global theater experience.”  In turn, may they be embraced by a global-minded audience, right here in Minnesota.

Come support Other Tiger Productions and the numerous artists who have created The Palabras ProjectThree performances remain from July 15 to 17, including a free public reading of Lorca’s Blood Wedding in English on July 14 at 7:30 pm, at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage.

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Chasing the Tiger

“…We’ll hunt for a third tiger now, but like

The others this one too will be a form

Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not

The flesh and blood tiger that beyond all myths

Paces the earth.  I know these things quite well,

Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me

In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,

And I go on pursuing through the hours

Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.”

–  From The Other Tiger by Jorge Luis Borges

 

Through July 17, Other Tiger Productions presents The Palabras Project, an immersive musical and theatrical experience at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage.  It will feature some of the Twin Cities’ top Latino talent, co-directed by Other Tiger’s founders, Jessica Huang and Ricardo Vazquez.

Jessica Huang

Jessica Huang

Ricardo Vazquez

Ricardo Vazquez

Huang describes Other Tiger Productions as “a small but mighty company that seeks to pursue other forms, stories and modes of collaboration in order to present an inclusive and global theater experience.”  It was purposely created as a production company–not solely a theatre organization–to be able to fulfill this mission.

Although its inaugural production, The Palabras Project, is Latino-centric, Other Tiger’s overarching goal aims for what Huang and Vazquez describe as “radical inclusion”–types of multicultural, multigenerational and multidisciplinary collaborations unlike what we normally encounter in the Twin Cities.  They state their vision and values as these (see www.othertigerproductions.org):

  • Deliberate collaboration with artists and communities who challenge the assumptions of dominant cultures.
  • A practice that values collaborators’ time and commitment with equitable working conditions, including competitive compensation.
  • A reevaluation of the theatrical canon, common creative practices and traditional use of space.

When asked why they chose to deem their company Other Tiger, Vazquez explained the name’s tie to Borges’ poem, which inspires the notion of ever-chasing an artistic form or vision.  As Vazquez put it, “The artist is always finding another tiger, something that feeds the desire to keep the artist moving forward.  He thinks that he has a product, but then it also informs his search for the next one, then the next and the next….”

The Source is the Words

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Rehearsal for The Palabras Project

Recently I was in the audience watching the post-show discussion of Calendar Girls when Charity Jones, who plays Chris, the mastermind behind the nude calendar idea, spoke up about the need to support smaller production companies that do great work as well.  With that in mind, Park Square Theatre introduces to you Other Tiger Production’s The Palabras Project on its Andy Boss Thrust Stage from July 8 to 17.

“Palabras” itself means “words” in Spanish; and it is specifically the words of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, Blood Wedding, that is the inspiration for The Palabras Project.  Yet the project itself features an amalgamation of various art forms, including theatre, music, dance, and puppetry, which suggest a reliance on further words — namely, “collaboration,” “passion” and “trust” — to make it possible for Other Tiger Productions to create the grand spectacle that we shall see, hear, and feel.

We use words every day to impart seeds of ideas, plant them to grow, then lovingly tend them.  But the process itself requires a measure of letting go, which is exactly what Other Tiger founders Jessica Huang and Ricardo Vazquez did for The Palabras Project According to Vazquez, each artist read Blood Wedding then explored and created around what spoke to them in the play.  Collaborators Susana di Palma, Maria Isa, Armando Gutierrez G., Gustavo Boada and Dario Tangelson were given artistic freedom to tackle their medium of expertise then repeatedly came together as a group to form the overall production.

In rehearsals, the artists kept constant touch with words, sharing those from movie lines, lyrics, poetry, etc. that inspired them, always circling back to their connection to the script itself.  Vazquez described their creative process:  “Every idea should be tried, even though most ideas may not work.  We tear down, try again, build up again to be better.”  All the while, the source of inspiration — the words of Lorca — remained the constant touchstone.

So I am not surprised that, as part of the show’s run, two free readings of Blood Wedding are also scheduled:  one in Spanish on Thursday, July 7, 7:30 pm; another in English on Thursday, July 14, 7:30 pm. The readings will be done by bilingual talents from the Twin Cities Latino community.

 

(Also refer to the June 28 blog, “Spanish Immersion: The Palabras Project Comes to Park Square,” and look forward to the upcoming blog, “Chasing the Tiger,” to learn more about Other Tiger Productions.)

Spanish Immersion: “The Palabras Project” Comes to Park Square

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Imagine a world where anything is possible.  That’s what Ricardo Vazquez and Jessica Huang did.  Together they formed Other Tiger Productions, a new company bent on outside-the-box creativity to be able to make whatever it wants via theatre, film, movement, storytelling, visual arts–you name it–in the process, carving out opportunities to highlight multicultural talent that may otherwise remain hidden from a broader audience.  And they are doing it all on their own terms.  Good for them; great for us!

From July 8 to 17, Other Tiger will present its inaugural production, The Palabras Project, at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage.  It is billed as “an immersive musical and theatrical experience featuring some of the Twin Cities’ top Latino talent,” involving several artistic forms of expression:  flamenco dance by Susana di Palma, hip-hop influenced Boricu music by Maria Isa, indigenous art by Armando Gutierrez G., masks and puppets by Gustavo Boada and storytelling by Dario Tangelson.

The idea for what ultimately became The Palabras Project evolved from Vazquez and Huang’s initial vision to create an outdoor festival centered around the words of legendary Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.  Years of visioning clarified and distilled the project into its current form, a production inspired by Lorca’s play Blood Wedding, a tale of star-crossed lovers caught in a generation-old feud, that will be a “complete sensory immersion” that weaves throughout the theatre.

Asked to describe how the performers will actually take over the theatre, Vazquez chuckled and revealed little:  “No one has adapted Blood Wedding in this way before.  The audience can come with that exciting question.  We shall surprise them.”

 

(Look forward to more in-depth blogs about The Palabras Project and Other Tiger Productions!)

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