I heard about Alicia Anabel Santos while I was in college. I was searching for information on Afrolatina writers. The Afro-Dominican artist wears multiple hats; she is a poet, teacher, writer and playwright. Santos is perhaps most widely known for co-creating the documentary series AFROLATINOS. She is the founder of the NYC Latina Writer’s Group. I soaked up knowledge and wisdom on her blog, her interviews and her writing. She even advised me when I spearheaded the Afrolatina arts night on my campus. So, when I found out, that she is a writer of plays, I had to share her work with the #Teatrolatinegro audience.
This piece, I WAS BORN, examine’s the experiences of seven strong Latina women that Lia, the main character, meets while traveling. It is a multimedia performance that tugs on the heart strings. It all starts with Lia, an ambitious news reporter, who divorces her unsupportive husband to follow her dreams. She is given her dream assignment to travel to different parts of Latin America and interview several women who share with her their lives. One of those women is Clara, a Chilean, who tells us the story of sexual violence and it’s affects on her life. Another, Milargos, a Dominican, talks about her experience as a sex worker with the desire to follow her dreams. There is also, Veronica, an indigenous woman, who is proud of her culture even if society attempts to belittle it.
What’s so beautiful about this piece is that it’s written in a conversational tone. It sounds like characters are capturing the true essence and complexity of these experiences in a down-to-earth and non-academic way. It’s the type of piece that breathes authenticity and I believe that’s how the best performance pieces come into fruition. Truth. The writer connects with the characters and the characters speak through the writer. Santos obviously has a gift for language and weaves Spanish and English through the piece. I love the fact that she includes an indigenous character, because indigenous voices are often left out of the conversation on theatre stages.
This video of the performance was captured at the “Womyn Without Voices” event at the LGBT Center, on December 14th, 2010. They performed the one woman play as an ensemble for that night, but it is usually performed with one performer per night. This piece was performed by Meriam Rodriguez, Jennifer “Skye” Cabrera, Jenny Perez, and Alicia Anabel Santos “in honor of womyn all over the world~”
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