Houses hold histories, memories, and secrets—whether small or large, whether rented or owned—our homes are a vital part of who we are. In a moment of mass migration and displacement, Theater Mitu upends Anton Chekhov’s 1903 text The Cherry Orchard to explore how families across the globe must again and again find ways to redefine the idea of home. Interjecting Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 cult horror film HOUSE, text from company conducted interviews, and live music, this technology driven work creates a detailed portrait of what we value, what haunts us, and what gives us the courage to move forward.
“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?
Over the past three years, in an attempt to understand this exact question, Theater Mitu has gathered hours of 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; doctors, nurses, police, spiritual leaders, scholars, teachers, mental health professionals, and artists. 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 work— part performance, part visual art installation. Engaging Theater Mitu’s interdisciplinary practice, this piece interjects interviews with found text, technology, and image. It affirms how loss can scar us, shape us, and at times propel us towards change—towards understanding what we should fight for and why.
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.
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.
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.