Celebration of dead and living stories of Mexico through immersive theater and interactive art installations
Creative Director • Producer • Scenic Designer
Collective artistic intervention and tradition immersed guests in stories from past and present Mexico for the first Día de Muertos celebration at CalArts.
The immersive theater show was a timeless collage of poetic and intertwined stories highlighting the different ways of living Mexicanness.
The CalArts campus was transformed into a graveyard where art installations got to tell the stories of characters that at night came to life in an immersive theater show. With the journey of the Monarch butterfly as a starting point, the characters buried in this cemetery got to share with the audience their stories about the connection and journey they've had between death and life, what they've chosen to keep in their beings, and the advice they had for those who are still living in the pursuit of pure joy.
Throughout the week, collective artistic interventions took place around campus to emphasize the public function of art as it has been done historically in Mexico. We did this through murals and ephemeral art; art that is not collectible, public heritage, and art for the people and by the people.
Designers, artists, and performers created spaces for cultural exchange that offered various opportunities for creative participation.
Tsipekua was a transformation that sought to challenge the way art was created and experienced at CalArts from a truly interdisciplinary effort that remained true to the existential, social, and spiritual function of Día de Muertos.
Día de Muertos is a combination of religion and ritual, a clash of indigenous and Catholic beliefs, and a collective lament and festival. In Mexico, it doesn’t matter if it is a modern invention, pre-hispanic heritage, or baroque syncretism. In Mexico, this celebration fulfills fundamental functions in society. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a day like any other, where life and death walk hand in hand.
For us, it was important to make sure that Tsipekua was a moment in which the stories of Mexico and CalArts got to walk hand in hand through collective artmaking and immersive storytelling featuring theater, music, food, and dance.
Co-director and Playwright Jeannette Srinivasan
Credits Elizabeth Zaragoza • Victoria Solorio • Tilda Seo • Bonnie Kim • Marlene Solorio • Karen Ayala • Margot le Duy • Joshua Salgado • Ashray Harishankar • Alejandro Melendez • Mia Condon • Macine Johnson • Nikki Ochoa • Jennifer Park • Ryan Meglino • Shannon M Siegel • HongJu Lee • Zoë Lappin • Erika Salazar • Emiliano Aguirre • Grant García • Maria Jurado • Linda Paola Varela • Nina Malinow • Ember Vinci • Atlas Molina • Fernanda Jurado • Gabriela Gonzalez • Alejandra Sanchez • Alexa Orovitz • Arson Kim • Volunteers
Sponsors Student Art & Leadership Initiative, the School of Theater, the Nick England Intercultural Arts Project, and the Student Union.
Special thanks José Antonio Aguirre, Christina Dailey, Taso Dimitriadis, Brenda Ivelisse, Shannon Scrofano, Evelyn Serrano, the Solorio family.
Dedicated to the people Mexican at heart around the world that have let us share these stories with you.