March 17, 2001
The Annex Theatre
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee at 2:30pm
estás?" (where are you?) by the Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble from
Hartford, CT is a dance theater piece that portrays the mothers of the "disappeared"
-- women who protested the secret arrests and killings of their children during
the military dictatorships of Chile and Argentina in the '70s and '80s. Conceived
and directed by Connecticut dance theater artist Judy Dworin, it combines dance,
song, puppetry, performance art, and poetry and narrative text by Chilean poet
Marjorie Agosin, a major voice among Latin American Jewish writers today.
The Hartford Courant, reviewing the premiere of "¿dónde estás?"
in Hartford in March, called it "a powerful look at a heart-rendering subject."
The review by Steve Courtney stated that "the senses are surprised by the
beauty of the dancers' motions" and noted that the portrayal of evil often
steals the show with guerrilla theater-style puppetry. A large head and hand puppet
represents the military with resemblances to Pinochet, Agosti, and Hitler. The
review cited as particularly poignant a bunraku-style, full-figure puppet representing
the aged Pinochet today, "finally in court, obsequiously justifying his
Links are drawn throughout the piece to Nazi Germany and the terrorism that silenced
the majority of its population to the extermination of the Jews. Anne Frank is
a recurring voice shaped by Marjorie Agosin's moving Anne Frank poems. Shadows,
cages and people appearing and disappearing fuse in the piece to create a poignant,
terrifying and finally hopeful vision of the mothers' courageous work to achieve
The Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble, noted by the New Haven Advocate as "One
of Connecticut's smartest and moodiest modern dance companies," began in
Hartford in 1989. It has performed in the National Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria
and La MaMa ("Ma," 1997) and appears regularly throughout the New England
region and in New York at Dia Center for the Arts (now Joyce Soho). Ms. Dworin
has created, with her Ensemble, seven full evening works and a myriad of shorter
pieces. She is the recipient of a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Individual
Artist Grant and an NEA Regional New Forms Grant as well as numerous state and
private foundation grants for the Ensemble. In 1993, she was an artist-in-residence
in Sofia, Bulgaria under the auspices of Dance Theater Workshop's special Suitcase
Fund for Eastern Europe, the International Theatre Institute, and the Chitalishte
Foundation. Dworin is currently Professor of Dance at Trinity College in Hartford
and has been selected by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts to be a Master
Teaching Artist for the state of Connecticut. She is also a recipient of a Distinguished
Advocate for the Arts 1998 and the prestigious Governor's Arts Award 1999.
Marjorie Agosin is an internationally famous Chilean poet who has written movingly
of the Mothers of the Disappeared and human rights issues in general. Her voice
speaking her poems and stories becomes a voice of absence and memory and makes
up a major part of the text for the piece, with Agosin's own story as an exiled
witness creating the narrative thread for the piece.
The writings of Majorie Agosin encompass poetry, fiction and literary criticism.
Her recurring themes that speak to the concerns of many Latin American Jewish
women writers today include the experiences of love and loss, the struggle for
human rights and the attempt to represent feminine experience from within. Her
self-identification as a Chilean and a Jew have been central aspects shaping
the more recent (post 1988) publications in fiction and non-fiction which have
added to the already considerable reputation that she enjoys as a poet. Since
the mid-1980s, Ms. Agosin has emerged as one of the leading voices of Latin American
feminism in the United States. Most recently, she compiled "A Map of Hope: Women Writers
and Human Rights," published by Rutgers University Press and Penguin UK
(1999). Her prizes include the Letras de Oro prize for Poetry, the Latino Literature
Prize and the Morgan Institute Prize for Achievement in Human Rights. In 1999
she was awarded the United Nations Leadership in Human Rights Award. In 2000,
she received Chile's distinguished Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor. Most recently,
she received the King Park Chavez Distinguished Professorship for Outstanding
Scholar Activist from University of Michigan.
"¿dónde estás?" is conceived and directed by Judy
Dworin and developed in collaboration with her ensemble. Lighting design is by
Blu. The performers are Kathy Borteck Gersten (Associate Artistic Director), Shari
Azar, Chris Andersson, Alicia Fitzgerald, Heidi Klecak Levy, Alexa Melonopoulos
and Lisa Matias Serrambana. The poems and autobiographical narrative are written
and spoken by Marjorie Agosin. Translations are by Monica Bruno, Laura Nakasawa
and Richard Shaaf. Original songs are composed by Juan Brito and Angela Luna Grano
with lyrics by Marjorie Agosin and Gabriela Mistral and played by Juan Brito and
David Giardina. Vocals are by Angela Luna Grano, Rebecca Delgado Brito and Juan
Brito. "Words of the General" is written by Judy Dworin based upon
actual speeches of Generals Pinochet, Videla, Massera, Agosti and Adolf Eichmann.
Puppets, masks and cage are by Rolande Duprey. Sound design is by Chris Hudacs.
Costume design is by Rita Sclavunos. Directorial Assistant is Michael Burke.