Power Street Theatre world premieres its new musical, Silueta, inspired by the life and work of artist Ana Mendieta.
Having interviewed the Latinx/PoC cofounders of Power Street Theatre, Gabriela Sanchez and Playwright in Residence Erlina Ortiz in the past, dosage MAGAZINE and I know of the might and right of a strong collective of fierce multicultural, multidisciplinary theater and performance artists. This week, and in a virtual setting (for admission, www.powerstreettheatre.com), Philadelphians Ortiz (as its book writer and lyricist) and Robbi Hager (the score’s composer and co-lyricist) along with New York City-based director Rebecca Aparicio, present the world premiere of Silueta.
Set against the radically politicized and emotionally social backdrop of the 2016 election cycle, and its anti-immigrant lean, along with the loosening of the Cuban embargo, and the escalation of the Syrian Civil War, Silueta is not your usual cheerfully convenient musical. Rousing and heartfelt, yes. Forceful and provocative, yes.
Inspired by the life and earth/body work of artist Ana Mendieta, Silueta (a provisional title for a work in progress) alludes to Trump’s running down of Mexcian communities and Dreamers programmers in ways far harsher and more demonstratively than the frisky musical film version of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. Add to this the stories, good and bad, of immigrants dealing with the Cuban embargo, and the emotional escalation of the Syrian Civil War, to say nothing of the wise words and guidance of The Ancestors, the camaraderie between communities new and old, and what Ortiz notes as elements of friendship and forgiveness, and Silueta promises to be as jovial as it is jarring.
“Silueta captures the pain of displacement, the need for choice, and the uncertainty we all face when borders are more important than family,” goes its online legend.
Plus, if you wish to sample its songs before the virtual live reading of the musical alongside community story circles around the politics of home, ancestry, and choice, go to the Power Street dot com, find the Silueta link, and listen to the demos. You’ll be glad you did, and it won’t ruin the surprise of Silueta.