Brittney S. Harris
Larry Cox Jr.
Dramatic Media Artists
Brazilian Artist Alberto Tibaji to collaborate with UGA Theatre for “Always (K)new”
The UGA Latin American Caribbean Studies Institute (LACSI), Portuguese Flagship Program (PFP), department of theatre and film studies, and the UGA LGBT Resource Center are collaborating on a cross-cultural theatrical piece called “Always (K)new.” Performances will be held in Seney-Stovall Chapel on December 1 & 2 at 7:30 p.m. and will be free and open to the public.
“Always (K)new” draws from stories of LGBTQ individuals collected in Georgia, Colombia, and Brazil. LACSI and the PFP have brought internationally-recognized Brazilian artist Alberto Tibaji to UGA’s campus for a 10-week artistic residency. Tibaji specializes in the use of autobiographical techniques in devising original movement and text pieces drawn from personal narratives.
In describing his work, Tibaji stated that through engaging with autobiographical techniques he became convinced of their significance to both theatre and human rights activism. “The importance of real narratives in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is undeniable but it is also important to fight for the formation of a new sensibility that can inspire respect for diversity in a broader sense and queer traditional ways of telling life stories in theatre.”
Working with the UGA MFA Graduate Actor Ensemble, Tibaji is creating an original performance drawn from interviews that have been conducted in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Columbian artist Cecilia Traslaviña will be providing animations alongside media students from the department of theatre and film studies. The UGA LGBT Center and its director Meg Evans have been crucial to the research involved for “Always (K)new” through outreach efforts aimed at collecting narratives from members of the LGBT community.
“This piece is not theatrical storytelling in the traditional sense,” said professor George Contini of the department of theatre and film studies. “The stories we’ve collected provided an amazing wealth of images, anecdotes, and emotions around the issues of gender and identity. “Always (K)new” serves to weave them as a tapestry. But similar to the very formation of identity, sometimes the words and images sync and other times they repel one another.”
Reiterating Contini’s point about the creative process mimicking the formation of identity itself, Robert Moser of the Portuguese Flagship Program noted, “Everything about this project strikes me as organic - its conception, the involvement of both romance languages and theatre students, the collaboration of colleagues across countries and continents, and the overlapping of languages, cultures, and (especially) sexual identities.”
“Always (K)new” is presented with the support of the Willson Center for Arts and Humanities.