April 7, 2016

Lewis Center for the Arts presents “Yours in the Hustle: 25 Years of Art and Troublemaking” — A conversation with renowned playwright Ricardo Abreu Bracho

PLEASE NOTE: This event has been cancelled.

Playwright Ricardo Abreu Bracho will discuss the subject of Latinx professionals working in the contemporary American theater with Lewis Center in the Arts’ Program in Theater professor Brian Herrera and read from a selection of his works on Wednesday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m. in Room 105 at the Carl Fields Center on Prospect Street on the Princeton University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The discussion is part of Herrera’s spring theater/gender and sexuality/American studies/African American studies cross-listed course, “Movements for Diversity in American Theater.” The course offers an intensive critical, creative and historical overview of the long history of agitation and advocacy by theater artist-activists aiming to transform American theater-making around principles of access, equity, inclusion and diversity.


Nationally renowned, queer, Chicano, activist-playwright Ricardo Abreu Bracho. Courtesy of Ricardo Abreu Bracho

Bracho is a nationally renowned, queer, Chicano, activist-playwright who also works as an essayist, producer, dramaturge, educator and organizer.

The event will begin with Bracho reading from a selection of his dramatic and critical works before engaging in a public conversation with Herrera. Bracho will detail a forceful critique of what he terms “my semi-retirement from American theater and my obdurate dissidence within relation to the construction of what I see as a false commons for Latina/o theater professionals.” His conversation with Herrera will hinge on issues of race in the arts and Bracho’s background as an activist, queer, Latinx artist-scholar without formal institutional support.

Bracho’s visit precedes a major symposium recognizing the 20th anniversary of playwright August Wilson’s seminal speech, “The Ground on Which I Stand.” The April 18 symposium, titled, “The Ground on Which We Stand,” is being organized by the Lewis Center for the Arts in collaboration with McCarter Theatre and offers a significant opportunity for the Princeton community, in conversation with national arts leaders, to critically reflect on contemporary conversations about race and the arts.

“Bracho’s incisive commentary on the neoliberal limitations of the contemporary non-profit arts industry promises to provide a productively provocative prelude to the following week’s symposium,” notes Herrera. “Additionally, his presence can speak directly about the professional and political impact of choosing to work without formal institutional support or affiliation, which promises to contribute an essential perspective to Princeton’s ongoing conversations about race and the arts, both within this course and beyond.”

Bracho’s work has received productions or readings at Brava Theater Center, Theatre Rhinoceros, Pregones Theater and INTAR, as well as at Brown University, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His plays include The Sweetest Hangover, A to B, Sissy, Querido and Puto.

Herrera has been a faculty member of the Lewis Center for the Arts in the Program in Theater since 2012. His work, both academic and creative, examines the history of gender, sexuality, and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is the author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report and has been published in many scholarly journals, including Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, TDR: The Drama Review, Youth Theatre Journal and The Gay and Lesbian Review. His autobiographical solo show I Was the Voice of Democracy premiered in 2010 in Albuquerque and has subsequently been seen in major cities around the nation and world. In 2013, he launched two new storywork shows, Boy Like That and Touch Tones. His first book published in 2015, Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth Century U.S. Popular Performance, was recently honored with the prestigious George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He is presently at work on two new book projects: Starring Miss Virginia Calhoun and Casting — A History, a historical study of the material practices of casting in U.S. popular performance.

Bracho’s visit is made possible through funding and support from Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of African American Studies, and the Programs in Theater, Gender and Sexuality, and American Studies.

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Steve Runk
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