/ Modified feb 20, 2014 4:40 p.m.

Play Seeks to Bring Awareness About Border Reality

I want people to "reflect on the ways we are connected," says director of Maria's Circular Dance.

Borderlands Theater’s latest production in Tucson tells the story of Colombian migrant, Maria, and her kidnapper.

The final rehearsals for Borderland’s staging of Maria’s Circular Dance are marked by an atmosphere of controlled chaos.

Lighting technicians, prop managers, sound designers, and stage managers are hard at work as actor and director go over the subtle details of the performance.

"It's a binational and transnational effort," said Eva Tessler, the associate artistic director at Borderland’s Theater, and who also directed the play.

Tessler said the play deals with a topic that is emblematic of the stories that take place along the border continuously.

"Carmen plays Maria…A Colombian who is an immigrant who has come to the border…she gets kidnapped by the zeta cartel," Tessler explained.

The play is written by Medardo Treviño in Spanish and the translation was made by Tessler.

Tessler said she decided to keep some of the Spanish that, she said, is untranslatable and helps define the sense of place in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

"The language that Medardo used is very poetic," she said. "it’s almost like Shakespeare in that he goes into a different level of language. It’s not the language of violence...it’s not the crude reality but a surreal flavor."

Mexican actress Carmen Garcia portrays Maria in the play. She said there are several monologues in the production that allow her to delve intro Medardo's unique use of language.

"I love the monologues...I think that’s the part where the actor gets really creative...and brings all these images to their head," Garcia said. "And there are things that are said so perfectly that I don’t really need the interaction."

Garcia lives along the border in Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. She said the border is part of her own identity and she thinks this play contributes positively to the ongoing dialogue of the border.

"There’s a lot to talk about when we talk about the border...Try to be a better person," she said.

Garcia said working with Tessler has been a positive experience. The play can be rough and Tessler's direction has given her the tools to fully develop the character of Maria, she added.

"For me it’s not just any play…. It is a testimony of the everyday violence these people endure in Mexico," Tessler said. "I want to bring the awareness of this to the Tucson audiences. And I want them to reflect on the ways we are connected to people like Maria… and the violence that occurs across the border."

Maria’s Circular Dance Continues at ZUZI Theater through March 2. For more information call 629-0237.

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