The International Association for Performing Arts and Research (IAPAR) will honor Associate Professor Jimmy Noriega’s Women of Ciudad Juárez Nov. 12 during its fourth annual International Theatre Festival in Pune, India.
Women of Ciudad Juárez was selected by a juried panel of theatre professionals and scholars in India as one of only nine “innovative” performances to be showcased from more than 400 applications received from across the globe. The play will be performed before an audience comprised of the public and festival participants along with shows from the U.S., Georgia, Germany, China, and India.
While in Pune, Noriega also will lead a master class Nov. 11 for local artists and festival participants on the topic of “The Physical Text: Movement and Meaning-Making in Performance.” His workshop is one of just 10 offered at the festival from acting teachers from around the world representing India, Germany, Japan, China, and Mongolia.
Written by Mexican actress Cristina Michaus, and directed and translated by Jimmy Noriega, Women of Ciudad Juárez uses the theatre as a space to examine, reflect on, and speak about the femicides taking place in Juárez, Mexico. Showing multiple perspectives of life in Juárez, from mothers and fathers, to daughters, factory workers and prostitutes, the production speaks out against all forms of violence against the female body and psyche.
Noriega, who teaches theatre and Latin American studies at The College of Wooster, founded Teatro Travieso (Troublemaker Theatre) [www.teatrotravieso.org] in 2012, the production company for Women of Ciudad Juárez, to “create positive change in the world,” according to the website. The group has staged five original performances: “Encuentro: Peru!!,” “Women of Ciudad Juárez,” “Joto: Confessions of a Mexican Outcast,” “Trouble Down South,” and “Walking My Dream,” and is currently working on new productions that cover issues that include DACA and undocumented immigration, the historical impact of slavery and mixed race identity in the United States, and human trafficking.
“Now in our sixth year on tour with Women of Ciudad Juárez, the show has had to continuously transform and adapt to the changes that have taken place over the years (and this includes restaging it for each new venue and training new performers to step into the roles when others cannot),” says Noriega.
This newest iteration of the show includes a male performer, who brings a different type of awareness to the role and expands the perspectives of those affected by femicide and violence in Mexico. The cast traveling to India consists of actors Stephanie Castrejón ’16, Jesi Rojo, and Christian Reyes.
“We are honored to know that our show has continued to bring attention to the issues of women’s and girl’s rights, not just in Juárez, but also in the many places we have performed our show,” adds Noriega. “The fact that international audiences have been touched by these stories means that we are helping to raise awareness of women’s rights and anti-violence in other parts of the world.”
Women of Ciudad Juárez has been on tour since 2014. It has been performed in Canada, Colombia, Belgium, and across the U.S., most notably at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee and at InterMedia Theatre in Minneapolis. It has also been seen at Yale University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, McGill University, Ithaca College, Arizona State University, Davidson College, Bucknell University, Ohio Wesleyan University, College of Wooster, Goshen College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Cleveland Public Theatre Station Hope, and Missouri Southern State University. Noriega recently held a special performance of the play on The College of Wooster campus last April.
“Audience responses have ranged from sadness and sympathy, to shock and outrage. Our play is not meant to be just poignant and heartbreaking; it is a call for action. I hope that this production and English translation continues to educate new audiences about what is taking place south of our border (and what is a widespread crisis in other locations throughout the world),” Noriega says.
“The performers and I have been humbled and horrified by our research into this play. It is our sincerest hope that this production moves our audiences to create change to protect the rights and lives of all women in their communities.”
Cover photo (L to R): Stephanie Castrejón, Jimmy A. Noriega, Christian Reyes, Jesi Rojo