written & directed by: Judy Dworin

performance schedule:
March 17, 2001
The Annex Theatre
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee at 2:30pm

"¿dónde 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 terror."

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 justice.

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.
2001 page