Premiering April 16th is MORE THAN GRAPES by Carlos Aguirre, Jeffrey Lo, and Lisa Ramirez, developed and directed by Sean San José. MORE THAN GRAPES explores the lead-up to the Delano Grape Strike, through the legacies of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong. Not an attempt to capture the biographies or histories of these three icons of the farmworkers movement, this piece grabs shards of their legacies and opens them up like a collective archive of our past and present. This audio piece is a collage of responses to Delano, California. The piece goes inside of Delano—the heart of the movement— and where the effects of the farmworkers’ fight lives in our memories and today. The production features Ramirez, Lo, and Aguirre, along with Dani Cervantes, Mike Sagun, and Kaylamay Paz Suarez, visual design by Kristoffer Barrera.
You can buy tickets to view at your leisure from April 17th through the end of the season.
MEET THE CREATIVE TEAM
CARLOS AGUIRRE (HEHIM/HIS) PLAYWRIGHT
Carlos Aguirre aka Infinite (actor, musician, vocal percussionist, educator) has been performing both as an actor and hip-hop artist in the Bay Area for over 22 years. He has shared the stage with The Roots, Eryka Badu, Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Jam Master Jay, L.L. Cool J, Macy Gray and George Clinton among others. He has worked with Cal Shakes Theatre Co., Theatre First, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Z Space and Campo Santo to name a few. He is currently producing his original rap and beatbox adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart. Carlos shares his experience by teaching at various schools and at-risk environments throughout the Bay Area.
JEFFREY LO (HE/HIM/HIS) PLAYWRIGHT
Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the 2014 Leigh Weimers Emerging Arist Award, the 2012 Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. Selected directing credits include The Language Archive and The Santaland Diaries at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Vietgone at Capital Stage, A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Eurydice at Palo Alto Players. As a playwright, his plays have been produced and workshopped at The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company and Custom Made Theatre Company. His play Writing Fragments Home was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright’s Conference and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Jeffrey has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Repertory and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and SF Playground In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has served as a grant panelist for the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates and Theatre Bay Area.
LISA RAMIREZ (SHE/HER/HERS) PLAYWRIGHT
Lisa Ramirez is originally from the Bay Area and lived in New York for 18 years before returning home this Fall. Lisa’s first play, EXIT CUCKOO (nanny in motherland) was first presented Off Broadway in 2009 by the Working Theater (Colman Domingo-director) and subsequently toured in various theaters throughout the U.S. and Ireland. Other writing credits include: ART OF MEMORY, a dance theatre piece commissioned by Company SoGoNo, and presented at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and the 3-Legged Dog in New York, (directed by Tanya Calamoneri); INVISIBLE WOMEN-RISE, a collaboration with the Foundry Theatre and Domestic Workers United; and TO THE BONE, a finalist for the Smith Prize and originally a Working Theater commission, which premiered at Cherry Lane Theatre (Angelina Fiordellisi- Artistic Director) in 2014, with Lisa Peterson directing. Her play ALL FALL DOWN was conceived at INTAR during the Maria Irene Fornés Hispanic Playwrights in Residency Lab. In 2013, Lisa was a playwright at the Cherry Lane Theatre’s MENTOR PROJECT 15 where she wrote and performed PAS DE DEUX (lost my shoe) as well as completing several other plays (including To The Bone). Also a veteran professional actress, Lisa has performed in the Bay Area at The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, Actor’s Theatre, and Intersection for the Arts, where she received 3 Bay Area Critics Circle Awards and a Dramalogue Award for her work, and Oakland Theater Project. In New York, Lisa has performed at HERE Arts Center, the Cherry Lane Theatre, The Clurman Theater, 3-Legged Dog, INTAR, the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, and Dixon Place. In 2015 Lisa played the title role in MEDEA (written and directed by Bryan Davidson-Blue) at the Be Electric Studios in Brooklyn, performed in THE IDEA OF ME (written by Kristina Poe, Jose Zayas-director) at the Cherry Lane Theatre and most recently played Blanche Dubois in the sold out run of the Oakland Theater Project’s Production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. In addition to acting and playwriting, Lisa was the Literary Director for Brava for Women in the Arts, and most recently received the 2015 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. Now living back in the Bay Area, she is Associate Artistic Director of Oakland Theater Project in Oakland, and a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation.
SEAN SAN JOSÉ (HE/HIM/HIS) DEVELOPER/DIRECTOR
Sean San José is part of Campo Santo- a new performances group for People of Color- who have created, developed, and premiered new works for and by People of Color since 1996. Happy to get to work with friends Lisa, Los, and Jeffrey on this piece about a place of such historic and cultural importance for our folx, and to spend time with these iconic figures of Huerta, Chavez, and Itliong. camposantosf.com; socials: @camposantosf.
KRISTOFFER BARRERA (HE/HIM/HIS) VISUAL DESIGN
Kristoffer Barrera is an artistic collaborator working with TheatreFirst for his fifth season. He is a sound and projections designer, sometimes wearing the hat of stage manager and actor. Kristoffer is excited to be contributing to this necessary project and appreciates the opportunity to work with such talented, committed, progressive, and dedicated artistic professionals who he does not hesitate to call familia.
MIKE SAGUN (HE/HIM/HIS) ENSEMBLE
Education Director, Kimiya Shokri gives you supporting information on all commissions featured in the episode. CLICK HERE to read about TheatreFIRST’s transformation to an online format, how it affects our mission and art, and how we’re continuing the revolution.