Matthew Paul Olmos' "so go the ghosts of mexico, part one" -- selected by Sam Shepard as the inaugural play to be presented under the auspices of the first-ever Ellen Stewart Award -- will be given its world-premiere production by La MaMa (74 E. 4 St.) with preview performances starting April 11 prior to its official press opening on April 14, it has been announced by La MaMa artistic director Mia Yoo.
Mr. Olmos was selected for this production by Sam Shepard, recipient of the first Ellen Stewart Award, created during La MaMa's 50th season last year in honor of Ms. Stewart, the late founder and artistic director of La MaMa. Awarded to MR. Shepard as an artist who embodies the courage and pioneering spirit that Ms. Stewart nurtured at La MaMa, the Ellen Stewart Award provided the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright the opportunity to in turn select a young theatre artist to create and present a new work at La MaMa: MR. Shepard chose Matthew Paul Olmos and the world premiere of "so goes the ghost of Mexico," Mr. Olmos' first produced play in New York City. Having enjoyed the premieres of many of his early plays at La MaMa, Sam Shepard's message to Mr. Olmos on the occasion of his debut, "Give him my blessing and good wishes."
Directed by Meiyin Wang, the cast of "so go the ghosts, part one" features Laura Butler Rivera, Bernardo Cubria, Jose Joaquin Perez, Luis Moreno and Peter O'Connor.
In an un-named Mexican border town, a 22 year-old woman volunteers to replace a beheaded police chief when no one else will take the job. Soon, a strange sound envelops the city and a chain reaction is triggered in her home, the cartels and possibly the entire country of Mexico. In his New York debut, Olmos calculates the cost of courage in this dark and irreverent re-imagining of true events.
Inspired by the real-life story of Marisol Valles Garcia -- who made headlines as the "Bravest Woman in Mexico" when she stood up to dangerous drug cartels in her country -- "so go the ghosts of mexico, part 1" is the first of Mr. Olmos's three-play cycle that explores the U.S./Mexico drug wars.
Marisol Valles Garcia has since sought political asylum in the U.S, and is now part of a growing community seeking safety from the drug violence in northern Mexico. Alejandra Spector of Mexicanos en Exilio says "we are so proud to represent Marisol Valles Garcia in her quest for political aslyum as she has becomes a larger than life living embodiment of innocence and hope for Mexico."
In reference to "International Woman's Day" Spector says that "Marisol has sparked a social movement where the mothers and daughters of Mexico are risking their very lives for change." Mexicanos en Exilio represents over 200 cases who seek political asylum comprised of reporters, photo journalists, political activists, businessmen, and former members of law enforcement, www.mexicanosenexilio.com
In the weeks leading up to the debut of "so go the ghosts of mexico, part one," theatre goers interested in following the development of the play are invited to attend CHECKPOINT Events. These include a reading of the Olmos play -- March 14th at 7:00 at 47 Great Jones Street -- followed by a presentation on March 21st at 47 Great Jones St -during which the design elements and music of the play will be revealed. Admission to the events on March 14 and March 21 is free. This inaugural program of The CHECKPOINT Events was created to engage La MaMa audiences through behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of making a play.
Matthew Paul Olmos was born and raised in Los Angeles to a police officer and Labor/Delivery nurse. He moved to New York in August 2001 to pursue playwriting. He is the 2012 Princess Grace Fellow in Playwriting, a 2013 Sundance Institute UCROSS Playwright and a 2012-12 New York Theatre Workshop fellow.
Born and raised in Singapore, Meiyin Wang served as resident playwright and director with Singapore Repertory Theatre before coming to New York. As a theater-maker she has directed and developed work at venues including American Repertory Theater, Berkeley Rep, Singapore Repertory Theater, HERE, Joe's Pub and Brava. She is a 2012 MAP Fund grant recipient for her upcoming work motherland/foreignrelations. She is the associate artistic producer of The Public Theater's Under The Radar Festival. M.F.A Directing, Columbia University.