Performances begin February 24 for The Play Company's Off-Broadway premiere of Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas' Recent Alien Abductions at Walkerspace. The new drama, a highlight of the 2017 Humana Festival, moves from an unsettling X-Files conspiracy to a story of colonial isolation, exploring how families—and societies—are haunted by their pasts.
Cortiñas directs a cast made up of Mia Katigbak (The Trial of the Catonsville Nine; Recent Alien Abductions in Louisville), Daniel Duque-Estrada (Native Gardens, Othello at Trinity Rep), Vivia Font (PlayCo’s Villa, Fernando at The New Ohio), Yetta Gottesman (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at The Public, Women’s Project Theater’s Touch), Ronete Levenson (Recent Alien Abductions in Louisville, Our Town at Barrow Street), and Rafael Sardina (Cortiñas’ Sleepwalkers with Alliance Theatre Company, Sea of Tranquility at Atlantic Theater).
When Recent Alien Abductions begins, Álvaro, a queer artist from Puerto Rico who has relocated to New York, is obsessing over an early episode of The X-Files. Could the episode contain proof of a real-life conspiracy? Years later, when a friend visits Álvaro’s family seeking permission to publish his plays, she begins to suspect that Álvaro’s conspiracy theories may not be so far-fetched after all.
Responding to the play’s setting in Puerto Rico and themes of colonialism and asymmetrical power dynamics, PlayCo has partnered with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Law School to present a new iteration of its Idea Lab, a series of free, open-to-the-public teach-ins from March 2–23. The schedule is outlined below.
(Deep) Roots of the Debt Crisis: the Colonial Context
March 2 at 4:30 PM, led by Marisol LeBrón, Assistant Professor in Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas, Austin
The Debt Crisis Era: How Did Puerto Rico Become One of the Most Indebted Places in the World?
March 9 at 4:30 PM, led by Ed Morales, journalist, author and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
The Impact of Hurricane Maria: How the Devastation Was Not a “Natural” Disaster
March 10 at noon, led by Huáscar Robles, journalist, photographer, and documentarian
The "Emptying Island" - How Mass Migrations Are Reconfiguring Puerto Rico and the U.S.
March 16 at 4:30 PM, led by Frances Negrón-Muntaner, leading scholar of Latino studies, author, filmmaker, and Columbia University professor
Debtless Futures - How the Crisis Is Producing New Ways of Thinking and Acting in the World
March 23 at 4:30 PM, led by Monxo Lopez, researcher, professor, cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental and urban justice activist
Recent Alien Abductions is scheduled to run through March 24.
The creative team is rounded out by Adam Rigg (set design), Fabian Fidel Aguilar (costume design), Amith Chandrashaker (lighting design), and Mikaal Sulaiman (sound design and original composition).
Cortiñas' plays include Bird in the Hand and Blind Mouth Singing. Recent Alien Abductions was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by The New York State Council on the Arts. The play received development from Fulcrum Theater, efforts that were supported in part by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Ford Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.
For tickets and more information visit PlayCo.org.