UTOPIAN HOTLINE.

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A telephone hotline, a vinyl record, a performance.

Is anyone out there? Is anyone listening? Are we alone? In 1977, NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecrafts to try and answer these questions. Aboard both is an artifact intended to communicate who and what we are: The Golden Record. After 43 years and over 13 billion miles, this proverbial message in a bottle is the farthest human-made object from earth. If we were to send another message into the distant future, what message would we send?

To answer this, Theater Mitu created a public telephone hotline prompting people to leave messages to the future. These voicemails make up the source material for a vinyl record and a live performance created in partnership with SETI Institute, Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative, and Brooklyn Independent Middle School.

As we re-emerge from this unprecedented year, Utopian Hotline creates a moment of community. Twelve audience members will gather, not in the darkness of a traditional theater, but under soft light, on a pink carpet, around a communal table, to re-imagine our shared future. Together, we will acknowledge coming into community as a radical action. An action that has consistently shaped this planet’s future. An action that reaffirms that someone is listening, that we are, in fact, not alone.

Created by Theater Mitu and directed by Rubén Polendo, the piece will premiere at MITU580 in September 2021.

utopianhotline.com

REMNANT

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“War is inevitable — but there are miracles. Every day millions of people die, yet we live as if death will never touch us.”
– St. Vyasa, The Mahabharata

These words sit at the heart of one of the greatest epic poems— a meditation on war, death, and loss. Its core question is of a particular resonance: what should we fight for and why?

In an attempt to understand this exact question, Theater Mitu spent two years gathering interviews with a range of communities worldwide: current and past members of military forces; citizens who have been directly affected by war; people diagnosed with terminal illness and their families; nurses, spiritual leaders, scholars, and mental health professionals. As they touch upon, come to the edge of, and often confront death, each interview becomes a portrait of what is left behind — a remnant.

The result is a new multi-platform work— part performance, part interactive digital experience. Engaging Theater Mitu’s anti-disciplinary approach to art-making, this original work merges interviews with found text, spatialized audio, projection mapping, and interactive digital art. This work offers an intimate reflection on how loss can scar us, shape us, and at times propel us towards change.

Tours of the in-person production are on hold due to COVID-19 but the interactive digital experience is currently available for virtual exhibition. Please contact [email protected] for more information and visit thisiswhatoneminutefeelslike.com

Death Of A Salesman

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Held hostage by their past, a family grapples with failure, worth and a world closing in around them. In this hyper-theatrical production, human beings become objects, music carries the memory of days long gone, and a life is reduced to a mortgage.

Theater Mitu’s staging of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman  explores a landscape of unrealized hopes and asks what happens when you are written out of the American Dream.

Hamlet/UR-Hamlet

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Imagine Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been buried in a mass grave with its predecessors, Saxo Grammaticus’ Amleth, Belleforest’s Hamlet and the originating Scandinavian mythologies of this epic (known as the UR-Hamlet). Among all of these buried bodies of text live the memories of death, madness, revenge, compassion, and love that plague the human existence. Now imagine Theater Mitu unearths this grave.

Resisting a traditional staging of Hamlet, Theater Mitu investigates these remains as material that amplifies, explores and wrestles with what it is to be born, to truly live and to die. Part installation, part theater, part rock concert— the piece both harmonizes with and revolts against Hamlet’s narratives, languages and histories. Theater Mitu challenges the boundaries between classical adaptation and contemporary performance with this site-specific, hyper-theatricalized production.

JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology

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As globalization moved forward in this past decade, blurring and yet accentuating national borderlands, one city – Cd. Juárez – emerged in 2008 as the “Murder Capital of the World.” Directly across the Mexican-American border, El Paso,TX has branded itself as the “Safest Large City in America.” Led by Juárez-born-and-raised Founding Artistic Director Rubén Polendo, and drawn by the vortex of questions within and around Cd. Juárez, Theater Mitu’s company members traveled to the region five times in 2012 and 2013, conducting research and interviewing citizens on both sides of the border. “JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology,” based on an archive of hundreds of hours of interviews, has emerged as an exploration of this border community’s memories from the past, both recent and distant, and hopes for the future, near and far.