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The trauma of two undocumented teenagers in highly effective ‘Sanctuary Metropolis’ at Area


Martyna Majok’s Sanctuary Metropolis pulls no punches. From this highly effective drama’s first moments, we’re plunged headlong into the traumas that inflect the day by day lives of undocumented immigrants. For Majok’s two teenage protagonists residing in post-9/11 Newark, the state of affairs is particularly harrowing. Their international locations of origin are the stuff of fantasy: the U.S. is the one residence they’ve ever recognized.

Hernán Angulo (B) and María Victoria Martínez (G) within the West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s ‘Sanctuary Metropolis,’ directed by David Mendizábal.

Each transfer they make of their host nation includes a hierarchy of slender however consequential selections. Report home abuse to authorities and also you danger being investigated for overstaying your visa. Apply for a greater job and you might be uncovered. Even loving one other human being is fraught with hazard.

María Victoria Martínez (G) and Hernán Angulo (B) within the West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s ‘Sanctuary Metropolis,’ directed by David Mendizábal.

Majok strikes a superb stability between intimacy and universality. Throughout a searing, staccato first act composed of quick bursts of interplay, rhythmic repetition, and a little bit of time journey, the youngsters, recognized as merely B and G in this system, reveal intensely private and singular tales. We uncover simply how warped their lives have develop into as a consequence of their unsure standing. But we by no means study their names or the place they got here from. They’re among the many tons of of hundreds of Dreamers who’ve lived their whole lives in America however don’t have any proper to remain.

B (Hernán Angulo) is a highschool senior whose mom decides to return to her residence nation, just about abandoning him of their Newark residence. His neighbor and classmate G (María Victoria Martínez) is crushed routinely by her mom’s lover. The 2 huddle in B’s residence, typically spending the evening collectively in awkward, unconsummated affection. They plot how they’ll clarify G’s absence from college whereas her bruises heal. Will or not it’s chickenpox this time, or one thing shorter, like a chilly?

The 2 present sanctuary for each other till G will get fortunate. Her mom is authorized for naturalization and the standing extends to her daughter. Abruptly G’s world opens up. What was unattainable to think about yesterday — together with greater schooling — turns into a tantalizing chance at the moment. When G takes off for Boston and a brand new collegiate life, she guarantees to assist B obtain his goals as properly.

María Victoria Martínez (G) and Hernán Angulo (B) within the West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s ‘Sanctuary Metropolis,’ directed by David Mendizábal.

The see-sawing between these two teenagers, pulled and pushed by likelihood, alternative, and the equipment of an unseen however looming authorities paperwork that dictates their lives, sparks the electrical first act of the play. From their fumbling encounters in B’s residence to the exhilaration of promenade evening, the energetic, resourceful kids navigate a fast-changing emotional terrain that might flummox most of their elders. Angulo and Martínez greater than meet the calls for of their roles with their spot-on choreography and snappy transitions.

Within the second act, now three years later, we meet Henry (Kim Fischer), a legislation pupil safely faraway from immigrant standing. The truth that he alone has a reputation is putting. Does citizenship grant you the fitting to develop into a person?

Kim Fischer (Henry), Hernán Angulo (B), and María Victoria Martínez (G) within the West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s ‘Sanctuary Metropolis,’ directed by David Mendizábal.

The frenzy slows down as three younger adults now steer by way of an much more advanced set of circumstances. The change to a extra languorous real-time tempo is an enormous departure from the breakneck surrealism of the primary hour. However Majok by no means means that her characters’ conditions will resolve simply. Every finds him or herself at a important nexus that will decide the paths of their grown-up lives.

David Israel Reynoso’s spare and efficient set concentrates the motion in a easy sq. marked out on the stage ground and overhung by a sq. fluorescent fixture that feels extra like an interrogation room than a house. The impact of the dual containers, ground and ceiling, concentrates the vitality right into a small area that’s enhanced by Cha See’s dramatic lighting. Sound Designer Fan Zhang punctuates altering circumstances, forming an efficient bridge between scenes carried out with out intermission.

Majok’s drama gives a vivid glimpse into the private prices of residing in limbo. A so-called sanctuary metropolis gives no long-term options, even one located just some miles from the Statue of Liberty’s welcoming beacon.

Area Stage’s manufacturing of Sanctuary Metropolis is introduced in affiliation with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, with authentic course by David Mendizábal and affiliate/switch course by Cara Hinh.

Working Time: One hour 45 minutes, no intermission.

Sanctuary Metropolis performs by way of November 27, 2022, within the Kreeger Theater at Area Stage, 1101 Sixth Road SW, Washington, DC. Tickets (56–$72) could also be bought on-line, by cellphone at 202-488-3300 (Tuesday–Sunday, 12:00-8:00 p.m.), or in individual on the Gross sales Workplace at 1101 Sixth Road SW, Washington, DC (on efficiency days, beginning 90 minutes previous to curtain).

This system for Sanctuary Metropolis is on-line right here.

COVID Security: Area Stage requires that patrons, workers, and volunteers put on facial masks contained in the Mead Heart, until actively consuming or ingesting, no matter vaccination standing. These circumstances are topic to vary, and Area continues to seek the advice of with medical professionals, monitor authorities finest observe suggestions, and interact in business trainings to make sure the well being and security of our patrons, artists, and workers. For up-to-date info, go to arenastage.org/security.

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