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Contemporary Theatre from Argentina: Matías Umpierrez

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Nov 2, 2015
Nov 2, 2015
Segal Theatre
2 Distancia de MatiasUmpierrez Foto Matias Fabro

Matias Umpierrez’s Distancia. Photo by Matías Fabro

Monday, November 2
Segal Theatre
6:30pm Reading

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

Join us for an evening with one of Latin American’s most innovative emerging theatre directors, Matías Umpierrez (Buenos Aires)–a multidisciplinary artist who produces works in theatrical, audiovisual, and curatorial formats in theatres, museums, and non-conventional spaces around the world. Among Umpierrez’s projects are the recent TEATRO SOLO-LONE THEATER (site-specific performances for one audience member), DISTANCE (a virtual piece for live theatre), and his new project dramaHOME.

In addition to readings by Debbie Saivetz and April Sweeney, there will be a discussion with Matías Umpierrez led by GC CUNY professor of theatre and translator Jean Graham-Jones. Translator Mara Valderrama.

Watch the trailer about this event below:

Jean graham-jones

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Jean Graham-Jones is a professor at the Graduate Center, where she currently heads the Ph.D. Program in Theatre.  A scholar and translator of contemporary Argentine and Latin American theatre, she is the author of Exorcising History: Argentine Theater under Dictatorship, Reason Obscured: Nine Plays by Ricardo Monti (ed. and trans.), BAiT: Buenos Aires in Translation (ed. and trans.), Timbre 4: 2 Plays by Claudio Tolcachir (ed. and trans.), and Evita, Inevitably: Performing Argentina’s Female Icons Before and After Eva Perón.  She was most recently seen performing in the world premiere of Terry Galloway’s The Ugly Girl at the 2014 Disability and Deaf Arts (DADA) Festival in Liverpool.


Debbie Saivetz Photo by Dixie Sheridan

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Debbie Saivetz performed in Matías Umpierrez’s Exodus: LONEtheater in the 2014 NYC Underground Zero Festival. She has directed and developed new plays at New York, regional and international theaters such as the Foundry, Fulcrum, Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick, E.S.T., Working Theater, Voice & Vision, Red Bull, INTAR, American Lyric Theater, the Lark, the Playwrights’ Center, Hartford Stage, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Long Wharf, Seattle Rep, Teatro Helénico and Lab Trece (Mexico City), La Casa de los Teatros (Oaxaca), and Teatro La Llave (Santiago, Chile). She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, a New Georges Affiliate Artist, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and was a resident director at New Dramatists. She teaches in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University.


Sweeney Headshot Hi res

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

April Sweeney most recently collaborated with Matías Umpierrez on the global site-specific theater project TeatroSOLO/LONEtheater and DISTANCIA, a virtual live streaming theater piece that explores the limits of theatrical experience in four languages. Her theater work has been seen in theater and festivals in Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, France, Ireland, and Hungary. In the U.S she has performed in regional theater, a national tour, off-Broadway and the independent New York theater scene. Favorite theater projects include: Karin Coonrod’s The Rover (NYCT); Jay Scheib’s This Place is a Desert (UTR/Public Theater) and Women Dreamt Horses (P.S. 122); Ashley Kelly Tata’s The Good Person of Szechwan; Stella in Streetcar Named Desire (National Tour); Untitled Mars (National Theater of Budapest), and Not from Canada (Monty Arts Center, Belgium). Film work includes: Brok Labrenz’s Any Other Normal; Leah Gelpe’s Julia, She Cried Alone; and a tiny cameo in Alejo Moguillansky’s Castro. April’s directing and writing credits include She, and the Empty Living Room; 4 Spanish speaking actresses stuck in a cherry orchard; Contemplations on a 4 Minute Macbeth; Atardecer 43, Federico León’s 1500 Meters Above Jack’s Level; and Wald, a wondertale in collaboration with the German singer and songwriter Kristina Jung. She holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University and is associate professor of Theater at Colgate University.


Matias Umpierrez photo by Matias Tavolaro

Photo by Matias Tavolaro

Matías Umpierrez (1980, Buenos Aires) is a multidisciplinary artist who produces works in theatrical, audiovisual, and curatorial formats. For more than a decade his projects have been noted for their innovation by challenging the limits of their own media and creating a dialogue between video, live art, and urban interventions. Umpierrez’s urban theatre interventionTeatroSOLO (LONEtheater) originally premiered in Graus, Spain, and was subsequently presented in Buenos Aires by the Museo MALBA, Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires, and Rituales del Pasaje. During 2014 TeatroSOLO (LONEtheater) premiered in New York City, San Sebastián, Sâo Paulo, and in 2015 in Madrid. In August 2013 he premiered DISTANCIA, a virtual play that challenges the limits of theatre with live performances (via streaming) from Hamburg, Paris, New York, and Buenos Aires with a live orchestra at the Teatro San Martín.  Distancia was later programmed for the International Festival of Buenos Aires (2013) and the International Theatre Festival of Manizales (Colombia 2014).

Other projects include Novela (theatre, 2006), Cuionera tropical (performance, 2006), La flauta mágica (opera, 2007), Gente favorita (theatre, 2008), 4 mujeres bailan (video, 2009), La tierra de las montañas calmas (theatre, 2010), Hotel Project (a collaborative intervention, 2011).  His short film “Paisaje” premiered in the official competition at Buenos Aires´s BAFICI (2013) and Cannes (2013 short film corner selection). “Paisaje” was presented subsequently in New York by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art as part of New Directors/New Films 2014. In 2015 Umpierrez will create “The Obsession Clinic,” a workshop and residency for artists in different cities, including San Sebastián, Caracas, and New York.

In 2007 Matías Umpierrez became the youngest theatre curator of Buenos Aires´s Rector Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center, where since then he has developed, curated, and programmed innovative projects, among them Opera Prima, Laboratorio Teatro; Panorama en Work-in-Progress, Proyecto Manual, Decálogo: indagaciones sobre los 10 mandamientos, Intervenciones/Rojas, and Proyecto Clásico. Projects like Opera Prima have led to the discovery of more than twenty emerging artists, and Umpierrez has mounted over eighty projects directed and written by prominent and emerging Argentine and international artists. In 2014 he founded “Festival Internacional de Dramaturgia Europea +América” (International Dramaturgy Festival Europe+America) in Buenos Aires. Recently Umpierrez was named by BGH as one of the 100 most innovative Argentine artists of the last 100 years. Honors and awards include Iberescena’s fellowship for young directors (2009) and an honorable mention in playwriting from Fondo Nacional de las Artes (2010) for his play Manual de instrucciones para un hijo sin vocación.

Mara Valderrama (translator) is a theatre PhD student at CUNY and an instructor of Speech Communication at Baruch College. She holds an MA in Theatre and Performing Arts from Complutense University of Madrid. She has been a Literature and Spanish Language high school teacher in Spain and the U.S. Her interests include gender studies, translation in theatre and performance, exile and migration and politics of representation.


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