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Brazilian theater director promotes American connections

Brazilian theater director promotes American connections

New York resident Marina Zurita introduces Americans to the real Brazil

Marina Zurita uses NY to expand the discourse from the point of view of the ability to see “from the outside” | Credit: Personal Archive

Passionate about telling Brazilian stories to the world, New York-based theater director Marina Zurita uses the “capital of the world” to broaden the discourse from a reach point of view, the ability to look “from the outside” and to continue.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the director — whose roots are in Minas Gerais on his mother’s side — includes “Coudates,” written by Fernando Segal. Performed on stages at the Brazilian Embassy in New York and at the Rough Draft Festival, the play tells the story of Laura, a young American woman who leaves for Brazil in search of her lost roots.

The creative process was documented by Record America TV Network. The work was commissioned by the Brooklyn Arts Council Public Notice, and is being used to fund the show’s third production – to be presented this week at the Jack Theatre.

“The project is done collaboratively and in this experience we found something legitimate for the group. Most of the audience were Brazilians. I learned a lot about the immigrant community from the play. Immigrants from other places have returned many times, which reveals that this is a common experience for everyone who came here to live part or all of their lives,” says Marina. Zurita explains.

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Marina Zurita insists on having a team of immigrants in her work. The idea is to believe in the diversity of perspectives and contribute to their legitimization and regularization in the country.

“I feel like the immigrant community in New York is very welcoming. The city is a centrifuge, there’s a lot of competition. If you don’t have someone to support you, the centrifuge will push you out. I try to meet immigrant techies. I know it helps people get visas,” he pointed out.

The director’s other current work is Riven, a theater project with Brazilian actresses Laila Caroni and Josanna Vaz, based on interviews with recyclable material collectors in Brazil. The title of the show in Portuguese is “Ruptura”.

The piece, which is still in development, has received support from several arts organizations through art residencies and funding. Among them: the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Target Margin Theater and Lab at APE. Among the piece’s winning awards and announcements: 23/24 NYC Women’s Fund and 2023 Creative Equations.

“The play was presented on June 13 and a lot of non-Brazilians came. Scavengers are a reality in the Global South. In America they are not organized as a class. The Americans said they learned a lot about this reality during the program. This area brings a connection with the real Brazil. This is very important. We should be proud of the collectors. They are a world benchmark in sustainability”, he points out.

Although based in the United States and planning to live in other countries, Marina has not severed her relationship with Brazil. Here she feeds artistically. The director’s aim is to bring Riven to the country as soon as possible.

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“It makes sense for Soudades to walk outside of Brazil. ‘Ruptura’ is exacerbated by Brazil’s geography. I want to show it to the waste pickers we interviewed. I really feel the need to travel around Brazil. Currently, as a creator, I am not interested in non-Brazilian stories. I am proud of Brazil and I miss it,” says the theater director.

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