Tanaquil Marquez’s Passport Across Language Borders:
Heads: English; tails: Spanish.
On select nights, La Fábrica will present Gustavo Ott’s play PASSPORT in a language decided by a coin toss. The concept fits Ott’s kafkaesque tale of miscommunication and unexplainable border discrimination well. For the less adventurous, most performances of the timely work take place in either English or Spanish (see the show webpage for details).
FringeArts: What moved you about the Gustavo Ott’s play?
Tanaquil Márquez: Yajaira [Paredes] and I were sitting in her car outside of Headlong Dance Studio. We just finished rehearsal for Azul, a production we worked on last year, when she pulled up the script on her phone and told me, “Tana, necesitamos hacer esta obra.” (Tana, we have to do this play) My first thought was, “What? We are already in a play, I don’t have space in my brain to think about another one.” But it’s the name that really stuck, PASSPORT. The title already seemed like a demand.
We had a reading a few months later and the message resonated in the room. In a beautiful and violent way. PASSPORT exposes how miscommunication can lead to distrust and confusion. Ott’s poetry is full of imagery and really blossoms throughout the hour while the main character’s situation gradually gets more and more dire. He mixes the two so well that you don’t know if you should be moved by the language or horrified by the action on stage.
FringeArts: What makes it a fitting show for this year’s Fringe?
Tanaquil Márquez: PASSPORT is a very current and important show. It spotlights the current immigration crisis. The long struggle of our community with the immigration issue has currently reached a boiling point. We cannot be but shocked at the actions of ICE against our society and the immorality of the Berks Family Prison in Pennsylvania detaining children as young as two weeks old. By presenting PASSPORT we want to raise awareness and funds to promote immigration rights.
Tanaquil Márquez: PASSPORT is universal. Whether in English or in Spanish, it addresses the same issues. It reveals the treatment immigrants can be subjected to at the border and discusses the many reasons why an individual would need to leave their own country. The whole show it about miscommunication, where the characters onstage can’t even communicate, so there is a lot of gesture, movement and action. We encourage our audience to come on nights of a coin toss, to surrender control over language, consensus, and the grammar of our social contract.
FringeArts: How does the show fit into La Fábrica’s larger mission?
Tanaquil Márquez: La Fábrica promotes Latino artists, collaborating with writers, designers and actors of varied backgrounds from across the Americas through bold bilingual theater. PASSPORT is a very apt show to fill a much-needed void in theater for the large and growing local Latino community. We want to continue to advocate for Latinos and fight for immigrants in our work.
FringeArts: What other shows are you looking forward to this Fringe?
FringeArts: Thanks Tana!
When: September 12–16, 2018
Where: The Proscenium Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street, Center City
Produced by La Fábrica