In partnership with Ping Chong + Company, La Jolla Playhouse presents
South of The 8
Public Performances: Friday, March 31 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, April 1 at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Written by Sara Zatz and Daniela Rivera, in collaboration with the performers
Directed by Sara Zatz
South of The 8 is a fascinating, interview-based work that
explores issues of culture and identity in a specific local community,
breaking down stereotypes by sharing the rich and diverse the stories of the
people who live there. Following an intensive interview process, five
individuals from neighborhoods south of the I-8 were selected to work with
Ping Chong + Company and the Playhouse to create and perform an "opera for the
spoken word," based on their own narratives. This moving, non-traditional
theatre piece showcases the real-life stories and experiences of individuals
from a variety of backgrounds, shining a light on the unique character of
communities South of The 8.
All performances take place at the City Heights Performance Annex,
3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92105. The Performance Annex is connected to
the City Heights/Weingart Library.
Patron Services will be happy to answer any questions you have at (858) 550-1010.
Supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation
The presentation of South of The 8 is part of Ping Chong +
Company’s Undesirable Elements series. Since 1992, there have been
over 50 productions in the series in communities around the United States and
abroad. The development process for this piece included an extended community
residency during which Ping Chong + Company Associate Director Sara Zatz and
collaborating artist Daniela Rivera conducted interviews with potential
participants. These interviews formed the basis of a script that weaves cast
members’ experiences together in a chronological account touching on both
political and personal events. The script is performed by the interviewees
themselves, many of whom have never before spoken publicly.
Iyari Arteaga – City Heights
Iyari is an artivist who believes in the healing power of telling our stories.
Trendale Charon – Southeast
Tre’s lyrics are his swag.
DeAndre Clay – Southeast
For DeAndre, theatre is a voyage into the archives of the human imagination.
Omar Romman Johnson – Southeast
“Just as a plant seeks light to grow, we as humans also need light/wisdom to blossom.”
Autumn Mercy – Southeast
“Autumn mercy is on her path to recovery using poetry, music, and the
sisterhood, she is slowly realizing that everything she needs, is within herself."
Please check back for press and reviews.
City Heights Performance Annex
3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92105
The Performance Annex is connected to the City Heights/Weingart Library.
Sara Zatz is the Associate Director of
Ping Chong + Company and project manager of the Undesirable
Elements performance series, an interview-based theater project
exploring issues of culture and identity in the lives of individuals
in specific communities. Since she joined the company in 2002, she has
developed dozens of original works in the series, working in
collaboration with partner organizations ranging from regional
theaters to community-based arts organizations, exploring themes such
as the experiences of people with disabilities, immigrants and
refugees, and disenfranchised youth. She has had the privilege of
interviewing hundreds of individuals from all over the world and has
served as lead artistic collaborator with Ping Chong on numerous
productions. Additionally, she oversees Ping Chong + Company’s
in-school arts education program and training institutes to share the
methodology of Undesirable Elements with other artists and
community members. She is the writer and director of Secret
Survivors, a work in a series which explores the experiences of
survivors of child sexual abuse, and oversees Ping Chong + Company’s
Secret Survivors National Initiative, which partners with
non-arts-organizations to use theater to end child sexual abuse. Other
recent projects include Say My Name, Say My Name: Stories of LGBTQ
Youth of New Orleans and Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim
Identity. She served as the editor of a 2012 volume on
Undesirable Elements, published by Theatre Communications
Group, and has spoken and presented workshops on community-engaged
theater at many conferences and universities. She holds a B.A. from
Bryn Mawr College and M.Phil. in Irish Theatre Studies from Trinity
College, Dublin. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Daniela Rivera is a Los Angeles based actor
and theatre maker, and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
She was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to California – where
questions of identity, belonging, and agency began and continue to be
explored in her work. She graduated Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing
with a B.F.A. in Theatre, and a minor in Applied Theatre. Her training
was largely focused on developing an artistic voice through constant
company and independent creation of choreography, vocal composition,
and theatrical pieces. This training combined with the minor in
applied theater led to the development of multiple pieces exploring
the intersection of social justice and theatre. She has spent the last
few years actively working with communities who have largely been
ignored based on their race, immigrant status, and socio-economic
background. Her first hands on experience in community engaged work
was with children living in a women’s shelter – through the program
she used theater, storytelling, and physical improvisation to build
confidence, community, and to give them the tools and space to share
their stories, fears, and hopes. She also recently finished a Teaching
Artist residency at PS 191 with Ping Chong + Company, where she worked
with sixty 8th grade students to develop two interview based theater
pieces about their life experiences, with the purpose of providing a
platform for young people to speak openly about their lives.
Ping Chong + Company produces theatrical
works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times,
striving to reach the widest audiences with the greatest level of
artistic innovation and social integrity. The company was founded in
1975 by leading theatrical innovator Ping Chong with a mission to
create works of theater and art that explore the intersections of
race, culture, history, art, media and technology in the modern world.
Today, Ping Chong + Company produces original works by a close-knit
ensemble of affiliated artists, under the artistic leadership of
Ping Chong. Productions range from intimate oral history projects to
grand scale cinematic multidisciplinary productions featuring puppets,
performers, and full music and projection scores. The art reveals
beauty, precision, and a commitment to social justice. pingchong.org