Interview with Death and the Artist Director and SF BATCO Co-Founder, Marcelo Javier
Tell us about why you decided to direct Death and the Artist?
I've been wanting to direct this play for years. When I started working with Carlos (Barón) on La Posarela I had just moved back to the Bay Area from New York. He handed me this script of a show he had produced in the late 90s - it was funny, sassy, and pointed. The show made me laugh, but when I stopped I was left thinking about the value we put on life. I don't mean to say that suddenly I found myself in a dark pit of despair… it was quite the opposite. I think we could all use a small reminder that it's just life! Stop taking it so damn seriously and laugh a little!
We had the opportunity to bring this play to life this year and it felt like the right time. We've been working closely with Carlos on integrating some of today's news and themes into the play and we think it will really resonate with people.
There are some important (and some would say, heavy) themes in this play. Tell us why it was important for you and BATCO to talk about these.
We see this story through the lens of ultimate immigration; crossing over from life to death and what happens when you try to stop that natural progression.
The parallels of that and what we're seeing currently with global migration are HUGE! I don't know that we've moved the needle very much on major issues like immigration since the world last saw the show 20 years ago, so it's just as important now to talk about them. Our protagonist Pobreza (poverty) is confronted with the question "What would you risk for a better life?" Refugees and migrants everywhere are being asked the same question. I think it's important for ALL of us to be talking about it, mainly because so many of us disagree about what to do about this issue. If we can acknowledge that as Americans the one thing we all have in common is that everyone here has a history of immigration and come to the realization that we are a lot more alike than we think, then we'll move the needle in the right direction - that of empathy, understanding and compassion for people as a species!
What part of the show are you most excited about for the audience?
It's going to be a surprise for people - in a laugh-out-loud, thought-provoking, and "hell yeah" kind-of-way. Imagine a telenovela mixed with some dark comedy, a shot of political activism, and some gut-wrenching farcical moments.
Speaking of the word "guts" :) I'm pretty excited about that part (or does that give too much away?!)