José Torres-Tama received a MAP fund grant earlier this year for ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project. In an article written for Alternate ROOTS, Torres-Tama goes deeper into Teatro Sin Fronteras’ aims as a movement and explores the first of seven movable feasts held in New Orleans. Read an excerpt of the full article below.
Enter Teatro Sin Fronteras / Theater Without Borders, a cultural arts initiative of the ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project supported by Alternate ROOTS’ Partners in Action program. Developed in partnership with Puentes New Orleans, a Latina/o not-for-profit organization, and my producing entity, ArteFuturo Productions, Teatro Sin Fronteras is a series of seven movable feasts that combine performance and theater, visual arts, dance, poetry, film, music, and Latina/o foods to highlight the contributions of Latina/o artists to the “new” New Orleans, and raise consciousness about the plight of our immigrant brothers and sisters.
Teatro Sin Fronteras aims to shift a post-Katrina mainstream media narrative that has generally painted a black and white racial picture of post-storm New Orleans. These events employ the arts as a catalyst to shape a better understanding of who we are as a diverse Latina/o culture here in New Orleans, and bring attention to the brilliant Latina/o creative beings who have also contributed to the post-Katrina arts renaissance.
Teatro Sin Fronteras #1, held at the Arts Estuary 1024 in mid-May, featured a recent transplant to the city name Diana Cervera, who opened with a repertoire of Mexican-bolero inspired original songs. Diana sang the pain of a mother, Sandra, who left her daughter behind to work in these United States, escaping economic despair, while being labeled illegal and criminal. Sandra llora — Sandra cries because she carries the heartache of her daughter’s pleas on phone calls to Mexico, “When are you coming back, mama?” We never hear about the pain of a mother being forced to leave her daughter just to support her. Instead we hear ubiquitous lies, from Donald Trump and others, that immigrants are coming here to steal, bring disease, and traffic in drugs.
New Orleans own Jennifer Pagan, a self-proclaimed Honduranean hybrid, performed an excerpt of her award-winning, one-woman show Shoebox Lounge, and mercurially moving from comedy to tragedy, told the story of her Honduran-born abuelita’s return to her flooded house after the storm. Rarely, do we hear the stories of Latina/os and their losses post-Katrina, and Ms. Pagan makes you laugh out loud and cry as she takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride in her work.
Read more about José Torres-Tama and Teatro Sin Fronteras in the full article here.