From: Raul Andres Gonzalez [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 4:01 PM
Subject: MAS Press Release
BORDERLANDS THEATER PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Milta Ortiz
(510) 853-1199 mobile
(520) 826-8607 office
LOCAL STORY IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT EXPLORED IN
BORDERLANDS THEATER WORLD PREMIER OF MAS
Borderlands Theater presents the world premiere of Milta Ortiz' Mas, the emotional journey of the historical events surrounding the banning of the Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District and the people in the movement to save it. Borderlands Theater new producing director, Marc David Pinate directs. Mas begins with previews September 10, Opening night September 12, and closes September 27.
Told from various perspectives, this fact-based docudrama examines the banning of Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), as the people involved struggle to hold onto their identity, their community, and their humanity.
Based on over 400 pages of interview transcripts, Mas is a streamlined word for word recount of the movement to save the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD. The play takes an intimate look at the people at the center of the movement, and how mounting pressure from the State affected their relationships.
ABOUT THE CONFLICT
Mas explores the complexities of the ethnic studies controversy through a wide range of perspectives: the State's efforts to ban the MAS program they saw as seditious; Mexican American Studies advocates faith in the program's success; and as with many social movements, the issues of gender and ideological divides. Although statistics demonstrated the program's success, the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD was banned. The play depicts how a sound bite taken out of context led to fear and resentment towards a community, and the ensuing power of the state over one school district. Mas speaks to the need to stand up for what is right and the emotional toll of fighting a protracted battle against the state.
MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES STILL MAKING HEADLINE NEWS
Mexican American Studies continues to make national headlines. San Francisco's Ninth District Court recently ruled on the lawsuit, filed by students and teachers, against the banning of Mexican American studies. The Huffington Post, and other national and local publications covered the recent events, including an article in last month's The Atlantic about the emergence of Mexican American Studies high school programs in Texas and California.
PLAY'S FRAMEWORK ROOTED IN TUCSON
The MAS program was steeped in Indigenous epistemology. Several of the teachers and students in the MAS program regularly attended sweat lodge ceremonies as a cleansing ritual. In Mas, the actors and audience are part of a Redemptive Remembrance, a collective reflection. The play is set as if inside a sweat lodge and the events unfold in a space of reflection. The play invokes ritual, with audience members having the option to be smudged with sage as they enter the theater. Pinate's direction employs dancers in masks (exquisitely sculpted by master mask maker, Zarco Guerrero) that coincide with the four Tezcatlipocas, deities that according to Mayan cosmology represent the four elemental energies that keep earthly existence in balance.
Pinate has enlisted Tucson collaborators to birth his vision. Safos Dance Theatre is a non-profit modern dance company founded by Yvonne Montoya in 2009. Montoya will choreograph herself and three dancers in movement pieces throughout the play. Jason Michael Aragon, executive director of Pan Left Productions, the media collective responsible for the most in depth coverage of the protests and events surrounding the struggle to save MAS, will create all the video design. Ceci Garcia of Raices Taller, a fifteen-year-old Latino artist gallery known for their annual Dia de los Muertos altar exhibition, will consult on the construction of a 10-foot altar, which anchors the set.
MORE ON THE PLAYWRIGHT:
Milta Ortiz is a Bay Area transplant to Tucson by way of Chicago. She relocated to Tucson for a National New Play Network (NNPN) playwright residency at Borderlands Theater to write Mas. The ongoing headline news surrounding the MAS program prompted her to take up the docudrama format. A departure only in form, as this play speaks to her fascination with relationships and the effects of gender/class/race on these relationships. At the time, she had just fmished working on the Chicago Chronicle docudrama playwriting team under the guidance of PJ Paparelli, author of Columbinus. "The last push came when my husband and I saw the documentary, Precious Knowledge. We knew we had to move to write this play. Little did I know about the conflict surrounding the impulse to move here."
Milta Ortiz is a playwright with an MFA from Northwestern University's Writing for the Screen and Stage program. As an NNPN playwright in residence at Borderlands Theater for the 2013/14 season, she wrote and developed Mas, featured at the Latino Theater Commons Carnaval play festival 2015, and the 18th Annual Tucson Pastorela. Plays include Disengaged (TYA) commissioned by Rising Youth Theater, premiered at the Phoenix Center for the Arts `2014; You, Me and Tuno, a fmalist in NYC's Downtown Urban Theater Festival 2013; Fleeing Blue won the 2012 Wichita State playwriting contest and a university production in 2012; Last of the Lilac Roses was a runner up fmalists at NYC's Repertorio Espanol's, Nuestra's Voces play contest 2011.
MORE ON THE DIRECTOR:
Marc David Pinate is a theatre artist/performer and educator. Companies he is proud to have worked with include Teatro Vision, Shadowlight Productions, Campo Santo, The Magic, and El Teatro Campesino in the Bay Area; Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, and American Theatre Company in Chicago; Denver's Su Teatro, and Arizona Theatre Company and Borderlands Theater locally. Marc was the recipient of a three-year directing residency funded by the Doris Duke Foundation at La Pella Cultural Center in Berkeley, California. During his residency he founded the Hybrid Performance Experiment (The HyPE) known for their site specific theatre performances on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains and mall food courts. He has an MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. His artist interests lie in merging elements of ritual and ceremony with professional theatre aesthetics.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE AND TICKET INFORMATION
Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S Scott Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701. Tickets: $6-$26 with various discounts.
9/10 - 7:30 pm Preview (HALF OFF All tickets $6/$13!)
9/11- 7:30 pm Preview (HALF OFF All tickets $6/$13!)
9/12- 7:30 pm Opening Night Celebration: With light refreshments plus meet and greet the actors and director.
9/13 - 2 pm Matinee ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/17 - 7:30 pm ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/18 - 7:30 pm ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/19 - 7:30 pm ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/20 - 2 pm Matinee ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/24 - 7:30 pm ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/25 - 7:30 pm ($12/$18/$22.50)
4/26 - 2 pm Matinee ($12/$18/$22.50)
9/27 - 2 pm Matinee ($12/$18/$22.50)
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS:
PLEASE CONTACT BORDERLANDS THEATER BOX OFFICE AT (520) 882-7406. In person at 40 W. BROADWAY, TUCSON 85701.
ORDER TICKETS ON LINE: www.borderlandstheater.org
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