Fri. & Sat. July 28-29 at 8pm, Sunday July 30 at 4pm
NEW WORLD PERFORMANCE LAB
Conceived and performed by JAIRO CUESTA
Directed by JAMES SLOWIAK
Two years ago, NWPL set out on an expedition to understand their hometown’s relationship with rubber. Through the pillaging of natural rubber in the Amazon forests, and the working class citizens who broke their backs building tires – Akron, OH became the “Rubber City.” In this solo performance Colombian actor and NWPL C0-Artistic Director, Jairo Cuesta performs a ritual of storytelling, a sacrifice to heal the city. In this moving evocation of the jungles of the Amazon where countless indigenous men, women, and children were mutilated and massacred in the mad search for natural rubber, Cuesta seeks to lead the public on a quest for the sources of a city’s sorrow. Through his virtuosic physical and vocal skills, Cuesta enacts a ritual of storytelling, a sacrifice to heal the city by confronting the violence and blood on which the city is built. The piece has been directed by University of Akron theatre professor and NWPL co-artistic director James Slowiak.
DEATH OF A MAN is an attempt at authentic intercultural understanding by reengaging the past and bringing it alive in the present. The performance is not meant to sentimentalize the story or merely invoke empathy, but to interrogate, criticize, and empower by opening a dialogue between text, past, present, performer, and audience. The performance event is based loosely on John Tully’s book, “The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber,” along with other historical and fictional sources. Cuesta and Slowiak traveled to the Amazon in 2016 where they engaged in meetings with members of the indigenous community represented in the performance.
Watch this fascinating video about their trip to the Amazon.