The wonderful thing about theatre is that it can transcend borders and bring new experiences for its audiences to enjoy. THE FRONTERA PROJECT, a new collaboration between New Feet productions in New York City and Tijuana Hace Teatro in Tijuana is doing with their interactive zoom sessions throughout the month of May.
Inspired by a trip to San Diego and Tijuana that Jessica Bauman made from New York, she realized that he ideas and thoughts of the border were vastly different than what she was experiencing on the ground there. Together with Ramón Verdugo from Tijuana, they are creating virtual, interactive sessions that have music, poetry, liver performance, and short films that showcase what living in a border town, and the art and vibrancy that comes from that unique situation.
These audience-interactive sessions and their performances are also a part of a bigger performance that will have its world premiere in the fall of 2021. Part of the goal of this larger project is to bring a more detailed picture of what the border actually is to people that may not have much experience with it beyond what they see on the news.
The sessions are bilingual, both in English and Spanish, and while there is some translation it is not word for word. This is in part because a full translation would mute the border blending experience that these provide, and also so audiences can let the musicality and the emotion of the language speak for itself beyond exact word-for-word translation.
The audience interacts with the event through a really fun, and anonymous wall where they can post answers to the questions asked of them. This information is then taken by one of the artists and turned into the final piece of the session. In my session, the audience feedback created a really lovely poem that captured what it was like to live somewhere where friends, family, life, art, and culture venture across the border every day.
Woven in between the questions are live music from singer-songwriter Jassiel Santillán, a short movie about a day in the life in Tijuana, and a live theatre piece written by Bárbara Perrín Rivemar, and performed by New York-based actress Malka Wallick and Tijuana based actress, Natalie González.
As someone who is born and raised in San Diego, and lives within a few exits of the border itself, I really enjoyed that this piece showed the way that the border is a part of people’s lives but is not the sole focus of their everyday experience. In day-to-day life, it is just a thing to cross to get to work, friends, family, and art that makes up the vibrant fabric of the Tijuana and San Diego experiences. Knowing that these sessions are helping the artists build a virtual and bilingual experience to premiere later this year makes me very excited for people all around the country to see the authenticity and heart of those living on the border.
THE FRONTERA PROJECT sessions are available to experience Friday, May 14, 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST, Wednesday, May 19, 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST, and Friday, May 28, 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST. to register for the link please go to https://tinyurl.com/fronteraexperience
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