What's Up!

September 27, 2020

What's Up - Your guide to what's happening in Fayetteville, AR this week!

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SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 3, 2020 WHAT'S UP! 5 Art Imitates Life LatinX Theatre Project goes online for 'Heroes & Monsters' BECCA MARTIN-BROWN NWA Democrat-Gazette I f you're going to make your first online theatrical production, it helps when the subject of that production is a video game, says Rebecca Rivas, program director for the LatinX Theatre Project. "It was definitely a big change for the company when covid hit, but ironically, it fit the subject matter of the piece," says Rivas of "Heroes & Monsters," available this weekend on the TheatreSquared website as part of the Arkansas New Play Festival. "When we weren't able to meet in person anymore due to the pandemic, we all began to meet with each other virtually through Zoom. Even though there were moments where we had to shift and pause to figure out how we were going to pull off creating a full- length play with these new circumstances, everyone was very patient with each other and still worked just as hard to create an amazing piece from it all. "There's always a silver lining, and I'm grateful for everyone in the company for giving their all," Rivas adds. "It was definitely a learning curve, but it was a super- fun process, and I think everyone gained a little film experience from it all." "Heroes & Monsters" began with discussions of social media, the internet, video games "and how people interact with each other in these virtual spaces," Rivas explains. Rivas portrays "Skull Face," a mysterious character that lurks in the background of the game "because they don't really have any person on their side." Skull Face is a strong fighter "and has an undefeated streak, but has given up fighting because it has never fulfilled their desire of being accepted," Rivas says. "It isn't until there's a new player in the game, as the stakes rise, that they begin to find a purpose." Justine Ryan plays "Trixie The Trickster," a character she describes as "a smart, fashionable game character who entered the game 'Heroes & Monsters' back during the original version (prior to the play). Her home life (reality) is filled with glamour and money but lacks love and care from her parental system. The video game has served as her escape — where she has even opened a fashion boutique for users to glam up their style while in the game. Trixie is very much a 'know it all' and 'I always get what I want' type of character, and this version of the game definitely tests her ability and what she is willing to do to get what she wants." As devised theater, the play continues to develop up to and sometimes including performances, Ryan points out. "Devised theater is when multiple authors of one story are also doing the acting, designing (costume, set, light, music)," she explains. "They take the story from bare bones and give it flesh, veins, muscles and organs. Creating a story becomes a journey for not just the characters but the authors, and with the added component of social justice, it's definitely the aspect that I really love. I am a firm believer that artists of all kinds should help The cast of "Heroes & Monsters" includes Rebecca Rivas, perhaps best known to TheatreSquared audiences for her work as the director of "Native Gardens," as Skull Face and Justine Ryan as "Trixie The Trickster." (Courtesy Image) FAQ Arkansas New Play Festival: 'Heroes & Monsters' WHEN — Until midnight Sept. 28 WHERE — TheatreSquared at theatre2.org COST — By donation INFO — theatre2.org or 777-7477 BONUS — Join the artists and creative team for a creative conversation via Zoom at 7 p.m. Sept. 28. progress the world towards the direction of a better life for everyone, and when we write, create, think, sing, rap and act, we consider its importance and purpose every step we take in our creative process." The LatinX Theatre Project was created in January 2017. "When the project first began, the whole idea behind it was that we wanted to reach and provide accessible theater for Latinx people in the community of Northwest Arkansas, more specifically a younger audience as well," Rivas says. "Also, we wanted to ensure Latinx people were authentically represented in the process, and this mission of our project still remains; however, we are inclusive of any ear open to listening to us. "'Heroes & Monsters' is very different from anything we've done before, and it was a really fun one to make, so I hope everyone enjoys it and has a good time watching," she adds. "However, of course, we always have deeper themes; we love to challenge our audience to think and offer new perspectives, so look out for that." FAYETTEVILLE

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