| Open: 03/23/12 Close: 03/25/12
Imagine that you don’t have a country. It doesn’t matter if you believe you’re American, because no one else believes you—not potential employers, not banks that issue student loans, not the government. There is no way to become legally American. You don’t exist. Worse, you are hunted for deportation. You love this country, but the country does not love you back.
Dream Acts, written collectively by Mia Chung, Jessica Litwak, Chiori Miyagawa, Saviana Stanescu and Andrea Thome,and directed by Kristin Horton, performed by Neimah Djourabchi, Anna Kull, Rey Lucas, Rory Lipede, Tiffany Villarin, with consulting dramaturgy by Suzy Fay, will premiere at HERE, with performances on March 23-25 at 7pm, March 25 at 2pm and a free panel discussion with undocumented youths and the artists on March 25 at 2pm.
This production is a part of the Spring Artist Lodge series of HEREstay, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.
In Dream Acts, five undocumented teens from Nigeria, Mexico, Ukraine, Korea, and Jordan face the extraordinary challenge of living ordinary lives under the radar. Each story is moving and urgent; some are funny, others are tragic, and through their experiences, we learn about facts about the DREAM Act and the secret lives lead by undocumented youth.
DREAM Act Union
) is a group of seven women theater artists from diverse backgrounds. Mia Chung is a Korean-American playwright obsessed with migration in all its forms, ranging from geographic to economic. Jessica Litwak is a theatre activist, teacher, playwright, drama therapist and actor. Chiori Miyagawa is a Japan-born U.S. playwright whose work often revolves around themes of memory and identity. Andrea Thome is a Chilean-Costa Rican, Wisconsin-born playwright who grew up navigating multiple landscapes and languages. Saviana Stanescu is a Romanian-born award-winning playwright and the founder/president of Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York
. Kristin Horton is a director primarily interested in new plays that engage cross-cultural dialogue as well as the staging of classics for the contemporary stage.
DREAM Act Union formed as a working group when playwright Chiori Miyagawa realized that the failed immigration bill, the DREAM Act, was largely unknown to her peers and invited like-minded theater artists to brainstorm about how the awareness about the bill could be raised through a theatrical event among the theater makers, audiences and educators. The legislative proposal is meant to provide a legal pathway for youth who entered the country before age 16 to be with their parents to become documented if they go to college or serve in the military for two years.
The process for the project began with the playwrights having conversations with undocumented youths. The youths who volunteered to talk to them were enthusiastic and even grateful that they were interested in their stories, and the writers were moved by their plight as well as their dreams and ambitions. This play is not a documentary drama, and the stories are not based on their lives. The content of the play is inspired by them as well as recent events.
The play was written through a unique collaborative process. Each writer began from a perspective different from her own ethnicity and wrote a ten-minute play. Next, the team integrated the five short plays by interweaving the stories of the five central characters. Then the writers wrote in pairs scenes in which two of the central characters meet. Through this unusual and challenging process guided by director Kristin Horton, the group has created a tapestry, portraying the lives of five undocumented youth.
This project is co-sponsored by Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York(an alliance of outstanding people working in the arts and academia who are committed to support, nurture and advocate for immigrant voices as a vital and vibrant part of the New York City community)and has received developmental support from the Lark Play Development Theater, New Dramatists, New York Theatre Workshop, INTAR, and NYU Gallatin. The presentation is made possible in part by Bard College Research Fund, NYU Faculty Development Fund, and New Generation Theatre Ensemble.
About the Company: Re/Union Company
Re/Union Companycreates non-traditional theater and performing art projects that explore socially-engaged themes. Different from the genre of political theater, Re/Union Company’s work is about performance as activism. It aims to amuse, rouse, and move the audience while informing about all kinds of wonders and issues, through outrageous acts of performance.