By Kathryn Smith-McGlynn
Staging reality is as oxymoronic as it sounds. The very idea of it seems to go against the grain of what theatre is “supposed” to be — a dramatization, abstract or reflection of life, rather than life itself. However, staging reality as a docudrama can effectively entertain while simultaneously heightening social consciousness and generating awareness. This summer, the New York theatre group Theatre Mitu from New York curated a visual art installation at UTEP’s Rubin Center Project space which complements a performance piece directed by a native of Juarez, Rubén Polendo. The piece entitled Juárez: A Documentary Mythology, examines the turbulent environment of the city over the past decade as told through the eyes of its citizens. In a similar vane, last fall, Frontera Repertory Theatre Company produced ReEntry, which created a world of truth and investigation into the lives of marines and parents, spouses and children see their loved ones deployed followed by waiting…waiting for them to return and reenter civilian life.
A docudrama is quite literally reality dramatized on stage. The concept isn’t anything new, but it seems to be experiencing a resurgence coming to the stages of El Paso. Frontera Rep is gearing up to present another play entitled HIGHWAY 47, an engaging and high spirited story, written by KJ Sanchez, one of the playwrights of REENTRY. The play is designed to bring reality to the stage in May 2014. Make sure to follow the second half of this story in the January/February issue of The Art Avenue.
Kathryn Smith-McGlynn is an El Paso based actress, director, scholar, writer, Co-Founding Artistic Director & Executive Producer of Frontera Repertory Theatre Company and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Theatre and Drama Department at UTEP.