Chari Arespacochaga is a director for theatre, film, multimedia, special events, and concerts. Her particular area of expertise is in the creation of new theatre. As the Director of Creative Development for several projects, she advances diversity and inclusion not just in the stories brought to the stage, but also in methods of creation and assembly of creative companies. Jason Paul Tate is a director, choreographer, and performer who specializes in capturing the nuances and energy of physical interactions between performers on stage. As a movement and fight director, he has collaborated with world renowned acrobats, tango dancers, and string musicians, and he is the co-founder of Neutral Chaos, a movement solutions company in New York City dedicated to training artists to tell physical stories. Jason and Chari co-directed Marisol, and although it is their first collaboration, the project was informed by their shared and individual interests.
Jose Rivera’s Marisol: Revolutions in Theatre-Making
Marisol is about one woman’s journey to revolution.
Our concept for the production began around the themes of surviving in the Anthropocene. What havocs have we wreaked on this planet? How has growing social inequality rendered some even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change? What revolutions are needed to truly achieve environmental justice?
Then the pandemic hit. Shortly after, we all witnessed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and reckoned with the longer list of names in our history of police brutality against Black bodies. We were confronted with the urgently necessary revolution to change the racist structures underpinning our society.
With our communal health at stake, another question needed answering — how could revolutions intersect with creation? How might investigating new technologies and forms lead us to more innovative artistic thinking? How could we transform our play from prescient to pertinent and at the same time revolutionize theatre making for its artists?
We reframed our efforts around Rivera’s note on the setting — ‘New York City, the present time.’ This seemed justification enough for an online show, but we knew we wanted to elevate the experience from our day to day Zooms. New questions arose. What could a hybrid theatrical-digital-film look like? What languages could we adapt to communicate relationships when actors could not touch or occupy the same space? How could we leverage a new theatrical delivery method to bring this show to those who most needed its message in this present time?
Our revolution crystallized around connections. And in those connections, discovering hope. A persistent, hard-working hope that new ways of doing can give way to “new histories… possibilities.”