Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arizona: No Roosters In the Desert

The highlight of our 30th season, by Kara Hartzler (based upon interviews compiled by Anna Ochoa O'Leary):

In this riveting new American play, four women trek the desert toward the American dream. On their way they push the limits of their physical and emotional endurance, and they establish profound yet fragile connections with each other through the magical storytelling of the youngest of them, an indigenous woman from Chiapas.

we were part of pushing through this controversial first time, the National New Play Network lent its support to a play that, itself, has crossed borders!  A rolling world premier from El Circulo Teatro in Mexico City through Borderlands Theater in Tuscon, Arizona to Chicago - here produced locally with a stellar cast directed by Tanya Saracho (whose wonderful new play, "El Nogalar" is featured at the Goodman's Owen Theater in a Teatro Vista production)- where it will open April 28th (with special previews April 23rd - April 25th at 8pm!) and run through Cinco de Mayo till May 29th!

 A small excerpt from dramaturg Jessica Kadish's work:


Cross-referencing a bunch of sources, it's clear that the desert journey takes about 3-4 days through the path that we're looking at. This path seems to be a pretty historically specific one - developed by the Southwest Border Strategy implemented in the early-mid '90s. According to O'Leary's research (which inspired Hartzler's writing), it started in 1993 with Operation Hold The Line (Texas), and continued with Operation Gatekeeper (California in 1994) and Operation Safeguard (Arizona in 1995). This plan has caused major crackdowns on all major border-crossing centers, which is what forces people into the more remote desert areas to make the crossing.

-happened last in the sequence because with the success on crackdowns in El Paso and San Diego, migration traffic shifted to Nogales/Tucson. Operation Safeguard was implemented to address that traffic shift.
-new fence built near Nogales
-more border agents assigned to the Tucson region
-government report released 1995 calls it "Biggest Increase Ever" in sending agents to the AZ border (

It's more dangerous now to cross the border than it used to be - about 200 bodies are found each year ( regardless of policy shifts. And even though the number of successful crossings is down, this 200-figure is staying the same - which means that a higher percentage of people aren't surviving the journey. Different numbers of deaths come from different sources, though. La Jornada de Michoacán writes that 2 people die every day...which would mean over 700 deaths per year...perhaps this number includes more than just bodies that are found in the desert. (


In June Prop Thtr will host two very special events which highlight our special devotion to expanding the offer of performance beyond our new play specialty:  The first weekend of June,

The Carnival Of Curiosity & Chaos 

produced by Prop Thtr favorite: Artist Tom Hill

"A Tantalizing Spectacle Featuring Acts By: Tom Hill, Jeffrey Pressley, Ammu Nition, Jen Dollface, & Danielle Forrest. They Are Prodigies of Physical Phenomena and Great Presentation of Marvelous Living Human Curiosities.

This 2 Hour Freak Show Demonstrates Acts of: Underwater Escape, Block Head, Trapeze, Burlesque, Fetish Play, Bed of Nails, Sword Play, Poi, Piercings & Brandings, Glass Walking, Belly Dancing, Aerial Chain, Suspended Straightjacket Escape, The Iron Stomach, Sword Swallowing, Hot Coal Walking, Contortionism, Handcuff & Chain Escapes, Adagio, Human Pin Cushion, Tattooed Men & Women, Snake Charmer, and Much More…

The Freaks Display Their Acts For Peoples’ Unquenchable Curiosity For The Outlandish And The Unknown.

The second weekend of June, we are privileged to welcome our mates of yesteryear's Chicago "Practical Theatre"  Victoria Zielinski and Paul Barrosse with their hit L.A. Cabaret show, "The Vic and Paul Show" :

After a 22-year absence from the Chicago stage, Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski, veterans of The Practical Theatre Company, are bringing “The Vic & Paul Show”, their original two-person comedy revue, to The Prop Theatre from June 9-12.

After raising three kids “from diapers to diplomas,” Vic & Paul are back to doing what they were doing before they got married: performing sophisticated comedy sketches and musical numbers in an intimate theatrical setting.

“The Vic & Paul Show” is “An Evening of Comedy, Music, Marriage & Martinis.” It’s somewhere between Nick & Nora and Nichols & May (if those famous couples were over-50 parents with grown-up kids).

Vic & Paul will be joined at The Prop by their musical director, Chicago area Emmy-winner Steve Rashid. Chicago native Shelly Goldstein directed the show.

There will be one preview performance on Thursday, June 9th at 8:00 pm. (Tickets $10.)

Shows are Friday June 10th at 8:00 pm ($20), Saturday June 11th at 8:00 pm ($20), Sunday, June 12th at 2:00 pm ($15) and at 7:00 pm ($20).

For Reservations go to:


Join young bands doing good and playing well and artists raffling original art this Sunday APRIL !0th in a benfit for Japan:

And, LollaPallazollo! in July, the largest gathering ever of Chicago's Tom Pallazollo's films in one place.  More about that, about Brecht's "Drums In the Night", about Burrough's  "The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz" and lots, yeah lots, more.

Please Visit Prop Thtr this 30th Season and be part of the shows, always live, always really here, always a fresh breath of non-digital entertainment!

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