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Jose Torres Tama
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1442 City Park Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(225) 383-1470


Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts


"Like several of the other participants who were new to performance, I didn't expect to grapple with complex facets of identity, gender, race, and justice on such a personal level. However, Jose's incredible collaborative process took all of us to a place where we found the courage to confront difficult questions with honesty and passion." -
--Barbara Faulkner

"Jose was a master at showing all of us how to use our life experiences in order to structure the performance… I was able to let my feelings, words and movements flow from me with a new free spirit." ---Jan DeSoto

 

For two weeks in June of 2003, Jose transformed the Baton Rouge Gallery into a "live art" space conducting daily performance workshops and guiding a group of nine community participants in the creation of an original ensemble performance piece called "Voices on the Verge." The participants were diverse in age and race, ranging from a twenty-year old college student to two community members in their fifty’s and included poets, writers and dancers that were African American, Jewish and Euro American in descent.

The project offered a voice to a variety of views as the participants explored the effects of media on identity and their lives, continuous racial and economical segregation in Baton Rouge, gender issues and bisexuality, domestic violence, the war on terrorism and the search for the "American Dream" in a culture that worships instant gratification. In daily workshops, the nine participants were guided through a process that developed their skills in creative writing, conceptual movement, the dramatization of the spoken word, theater techniques, voice and diction, comedic improvisations, the composition of monologues and performance art strategies for ensemble work.

The workshops culminated in a seventy-five minute performance art show that fused poetry and text with visual tableaus and personal stories with music and movement, offering a politically charged show that was also laced with humorous observations on the cultural complexities of life in the United States today.

"Voices on the Verge" was supported by the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and presented by ArteFuturo Productions in collaboration with the Baton Rouge Gallery.

 

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