GALA to stage sci-fi Latino sendup of anti-immigrant bias

José Torres-Tama performs his solo show 'Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers' live, May 14 to 16.

GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 45th-anniversary season with Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers by performance artist José Torres-Tama, an Ecuadorean who resides in New Orleans. Presented live three times only, May 14 to 16, 2021, Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers is a genre-bending sci-fi Latino noir that satirizes the absurd status of immigrants as “extraterrestrials.”

Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers is inspired by filmed interviews with immigrants who have shared their epic border-crossing stories with the artist. In this visually stunning show, Torres-Tama deftly shape-shifts into a variety of complex “alien” characters from the Latin diaspora, as he challenges a “freedom-loving” nation that has moved to the “Dark Side” where immigrants have become “enemies of the state.” The show exposes the hypocrisies of the “United States of Amnesia,” which seduces its citizenry to embrace forgetting that it politically dehumanizes the same people whose labor it readily exploits.

José Torres-Tama in ‘Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers.’ Photo courtesy of GALA Hispanic Theatre.

The performance includes the characters of a Honduran reconstruction worker whose hand is crushed while rebuilding New Orleans; a Mexican Methodist Minister who implores us to see the Christ figure in the persecuted immigrant; a Nicaraguan woman who retells her dramatic border-crossing story when she was a child escaping the ’80s Civil War to reunite with her father; and a hilarious Chicano-accented Pachuco character with a message to gringos who love guacamole — “You can’t consume our foods and demonize the cooks!”

Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers will be performed live May 14 through May 16, 2021, at  GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC. Reservations are necessary, as only 66 patrons will be seated. General admission tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.

GALA Theatre is one block from the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Green and Yellow lines. Parking is available at a discount in the Giant parking garage off Park Road, NW.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

José Torres-Tama is a published Ecuadoran-born poet and playwright, an arts educator, cultural activist, and visual and performance artist. Throughout his career, Torres-Tama has explored the effects of media on race relations, the Latino immigrant experience, and underbelly of the “North American Dream” mythology and post-9/11 blind nationalism that has led to rampant anti-immigrant hysteria gripping the United States. Torres-Tamas’ solo performances have been presented in England, Wales, Poland, Slovenia, Mexico, and across the United States, including Performance Space 122 and Theater for the New City in New York; Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles; The National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque; Diverse Works in Houston; and the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans; and GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC.

He received a prestigious MAPFUND for his Taco Truck Theater/Teatro Sin Fronteras ensemble dinner theater on wheels that challenges the criminalization of immigrants and the parallel struggles of African Americans with continuous killings of unarmed Black civilians by white police. The documentary This Taco Truck Kills Fascists, a result of his theater on wheels, won Best Louisiana Feature at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival. Torres-Tama was awarded a 2008/09 Louisiana Division of the Arts grant to perform his post-Katrina solo, The Cone of Uncertainty in London, Liverpool, and Aberystwyth, Wales, He is also the recipient of a 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for the publication of his first art book, New Orleans Free People of Color & Their Legacy, by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Torres-Tamas is also a recipient of a Regional Artist Project award from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).

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Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by MECA (Houston) in partnership with GALA Hispanic Theatre (D.C.), and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center (New Orleans) and the NPN.

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