The University of Nevada, Reno College of Liberal Arts welcomes award-winning Mexican playwright Bárbara Colio to Reno Sept. 28 and 29. Colio, the first Mexican playwright to win the prestigious María Teresa León International Prize for female playwrights and also the 2017 Dramaturgical Prize Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, will deliver talks, visit classrooms and work with University student and faculty actors. She will present scenes from her plays in both Spanish and English.
Colio is the author of more than a dozen prize-winning plays, including La boca de lobo, Pequeñas certezas, Usted está aquí, El día más violento and Cuerdas. She is also the founder of the Mexico City-based theater company BarCoDrama.
Colio was born in 1969 on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali, Baja California, where she had her formative experiences in the theater and became a playwright before moving to Mexico City in 2003. Her many award-winning plays have been produced widely in New York, Austin, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, France, London, Italy, Argentina, Perú, Costa Rica, Singapore and China, and she has held writing residencies in London, New York, Spain, Singapore and China.
LatinoMagazine.com has written that her play Cuerdas "set a new standard for Latin American theater in the United States." Her work is notable for its astute depictions of personalities, its realistic portrayal of contemporary realities surrounding gender, race and migration, and its break with theatrical conventions.
"Colio's work is universal," Elizabeth Villalobos, assistant professor of Spanish at the University and the visit's organizer, said. "She talks about personal or individual dramas as a metaphor for the larger dramas of the world. She really understands the conflicts of modern life, which is why her plays connect with audiences anywhere in the world."
"She goes to the essence of what makes us human beings, instead of what makes us American or Mexican," Villalobos continued. "Her plays are all about relationships, how we interact with each other as human beings."
"She is always talking about absence, how we are always longing for something that is missing," Villalobos said. "The thing missing in her plays can be an object, a person or part of the self, like a trait. She explores how we construct ourselves in relation to absence. It is really beautiful. And that's why it is very deep, because we all have some sort of absence. We are always missing something or someone."
Ana Laura Santamaría, professor of ethics and humanistic studies at Tecnológico de Monterrey, said, "El teatro de Bárbara Colio expresa un compromiso con la realidad de su tiempo; con los seres humanos que enfrentan el vacío de las ausencias con el único recurso que les permite seguir respirando: la mirada del otro." [The theater of Bárbara Colio expresses a commitment to the reality of her time; with the human beings that face the emptiness of the absences with the only resource that allows them to keep breathing: the look of the other.]
Colio's Reno visit will feature two free public talks with University actors performing brief selections from two of her plays. The Thursday talk on the University campus will be in English, while the Friday talk at the Reno Little Theater will be in Spanish.
Thursday, Sept. 28
Public Talk at the University of Nevada, Reno
Bárbara Colio presents "Mexican Dramas From Streets to Stages"
The talk will include University of Nevada, Reno student actors and Assistant Professor Adrian Cabral doing a dramatic reading of excerpts of Colio's play "Cuerdas/Ropes."
Location: Redfield Proscenium Theatre, Church Fine Arts Building, 1335 North Virginia St., Reno. Contact the Theater Department at 775-682-8341.
Parking: Parking passes are available for purchase in the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex north of the Church Fine Arts Building.
Friday, Sept. 29
Community Talk with Bárbara Colio [in Spanish/en Español]]
Topic: "Ni Frida, ni Villa: teatro e imágenes mexicanas en el mundo." ["Neither Frida Nor Villa: Theater and Mexican Images in the World"] Also with UNR student actors and Professor Adrian Cabral doing a dramatic reading of excerpts in Spanish of Colio's play, "Cuerdas/Ropes."
Location: Reno Little Theater, 147 East Pueblo St., Reno, NV 89502. Contact the theater at 775-374-4544.
Parking: In the theater lot, with additional parking at 237 E. Arroyo St., on Pueblo Street or in the lot across the street on Pueblo.
Colio's visit is made possible by the generous support of the University of Nevada, Reno College of Liberal Arts and Science's Hilliard Endowment in the Humanities, the Department of World Languages and Literatures, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Core Humanities Program, the Program in Gender, Race, and Identity, the Latino Research Center, and the partnership of the ASUN Spanish Club and the Reno Little Theater.