The TCG and the The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics sponsored a pre-conference performance of Amarillo by Teatro Línea de Sombra and a post-show panel on refugees and immigration to Portland, Oregon. It took place at the Armory last night.
Sand, water, a wall….a solitary figure waits in the shadows. The images of disappeared migrants, most likely lost and buried in the sands of the desert they attempted to cross appear projected on the wall. A woman folds clothing and carefully bags it, folding and taping the name of a disappeared John Doe or another of the many names hanging on a the side of the shelves edging the stage. Thus begins Amarillo, the recorded voices of migrant men speaking, emerging and then being drowned by the haunting voice of the throat singer/coyote/death figure that perambulates the stage, seen and not seen by the other bodies in the space.
It is a spectacle that combines the projection of apparently mundane objects (a compass, a single bill under some coins, a plastic comb) with the physicality of the actors running, dancing, twirling, attempting to climb the wall where these images are being projected. At times, the image is replaced by shots from above. The sand and the clothes strewn about, the half empty water bottles form a landscape of desolation and hopelessness.
In 2017, Amarillo speaks, no, nos grita insistently about a crisis that has gotten worse, has reached a global scale, and which “government” fears irrationally. But we ask, what is the evolution of our human history but one of migration? What should we do now when masses of human beings are displaced? How are we to perceive, to see the other, ourselves?