It’s a busy and exciting time for Georgina Hernández Escobar, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). His latest efforts began in New York and El Paso within days of each other.
“Alebrijes,”A bilingual play Le Jour des Morts which she wrote and directed, opens at 7:30 p.m. from October 27 to Nov. 2, 2021, at UTEP’s Chihuahuan Desert Gardens amphitheater, near downtown undergraduate learning. These free performances follow on from “Little Duende, A fantastic coming-of-age adventure story that was part of the 33rd Annual National Alliance for Musical Theater (NAMT) Festival of New Musicals held October 21-22 at the Mezzanine Theater at ART / New York Theaters.
Escobar took over the work. The native of Juárez, Mexico called it the life of a practicing artist. She stressed that it was important for educators to practice their disciplines in order to maintain a competitive and relevant advantage in the training of future professionals.
The New York-based playwright, who has worked at UTEP since 2019, has traveled many miles in preparation for the two shows. She would rehearse in New York and return to UTEP for classes and rehearsals as well as to lead artistic workshops on Sunday afternoons in October at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Breezeway. In these workshops, community members created papier-mâché creatures and masks and painted them in bright colors. Some of the creations would be “Alebrijes“stage props.
“I just hope that UTEP will continue to support the artists on its faculty for this type of work, which is imperative for our discipline, our training and our growth,” Escobar said. “My career as a professional writer is separate from University, but what I take from it is something I can share with our students. “
Escobar worked on this reimagined fable of the life and imminent death of award-winning Mexican artist Pedro Linares, the original creator of the distinctive papier-mâché sculptures called alebrijes. He died in 1992 at the age of 85. The predominantly family story follows Linares and Three Spirits in a celebration of fantastic Mexican folk art as the artist tries to cope with La Muerte (Death) to bring his brother back to life.
The message behind this 90-minute comedy, which features traditional music, is that art can transcend mortality. Linares’ journey brings him back to his house in Mexico City in 1936 where he discovers the special relationships he had with his animals. Escobar created the story in conjunction with Milagro, a theater company from Portland, Oregon.
Xavier Felix, who obtained his BFA in theatrical performance at UTEP in 2021, plays Linares. The actor is a master’s student in education who hopes to graduate in 2022. The rest of the cast consists of three students and two alumni from UTEP’s theater and dance department, as well as a high school recruit.
Felix said he had worked with Escobar for over two years and considered her a great mentor.
“She taught me so much about being an actor, screenwriter, director and artist in general,” Felix said. “Georgina has been a tremendous role model of what it means to have courage, humility and collaborative values. Her willingness to inspire, as well as to be inspired by others, is undeniable proof of her professionalism and wisdom.
Each performance ends with a community altar-building experience where members of the public can light a candle and pronounce the names of their loved ones. The producers dedicated each performance to UTEP President Emerita Diana Natalicio, who died on September 24, 2021 at the age of 82. She led the university for 31 years until her retirement in 2019.
The Department of Theater and Dance has organized its own Day of the Dead memorial – Noche de Ofrendas – as a fundraiser to recover ticket sales lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of October, the department has accepted donations as well as photos of deceased loved ones for an exhibition that will run from October 27 to November 2, 2021, in the lobby of the Wise Family Theater at the Fox Fine Arts Center. The month-long activity will conclude with a brief ceremony at 6 p.m. on November 2 at the exhibit. Escobar will give a brief presentation on Day of the Dead at 7 p.m. at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens Amphitheater. A service of “Alebrijes” will follow.
During the preparation of “Alebrijes”, Escobar also focused on “Little DuendeOr “Little Elf,” a musical she helped create in association with songwriter and lyricist Robi Hager for NAMT. The playwright-in-residence from the UTEP’s theater department said that she and Hager started working on the project in early 2019. Escobar’s job as author of the book was to build the plot of musical and character development. Both said the NAMT selection was an honor.
NAMT is one of the best new musical theater festivals in the country and a great opportunity for writers to meet producers and showcase their work to a national network. The writers hope to gain support that will allow them to pursue the production goals of their project. The UTEP professor said the festival was a great way to celebrate an artist’s work and assess their potential.
Escobar, who received his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from UTEP in 2006 and his master’s degree in fine arts from the University of New Mexico five years later, said the musical mixed a beautiful score with a mythological tale. dark and twisted that amplifies the social message. on the complexities of immigrants as individuals. She said they were targeting a “Coco” meeting “Pan’s Labyrinth”.
Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Marketing et Communication
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