Imagining with Irene: Openings for Performance in the Time of Pandemic
This thesis aims to imagine with the great Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés. To do this, I perform an investigation of my virtual, live production Fornés’ Letters from Cuba by revisiting images that remain. This production was produced in the Fall of 2020, at the height of the pandemic and political uncertainties. These digital ephemera are the trappings that remain from my first musings of the play, sketches from my notebook, stills from the media tests, notes from rehearsals, and varied scrawled moments. By putting myself in conversation again with these images, I return in order to move forward. I wade through these images and reflect on the discoveries they represent in order to ask “how can imagining with Irene launch us into the theatre of now?” How does her practice of living and theatre-making inform, guide, and instruct us on how to meet our current moment as artists?Assembling and moving through this collected archive asks me to reflect on the ways Fornés invites us to reframe our relationship to our intimate self, the audience, innovation, and our imaginations, and even love itself. Ultimately, Fornés asks us to join her as brave visionaries to create the world in which we want our art to exist.