VERSION 2: DEATH OF THE DOLL : A STRIPPER’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE AFTERLIFE – Theatrical Solo Show
Through a grant from Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, Almazan developed the text through an artist’s residency with The Artemis Organization. In collaboration with scholar Aurora G. Morcillo, writer of “True Catholic Womanhood: Gender Ideology in Franco’s Spain”.
After being raped and mutilated, a young stripper Maria, awakes in purgatory to discover the militaristic history of violence within her Catholic origins. As Maria struggles with her desire to become the Virgin Mary figure, she battles with God, forcing her to reconcile with her dead child that becomes all the more real in this imaginary world. We purge through the seven stages of the afterlife as Maria realizes who her killers are and why her birthplace of Juarez, Mexico continues to become a breeding ground for the murder of women.
Performance Art Piece. Maria addresses God in Purgatory.
I pried my mouth shut with bolts from my father’s shop. With my mouth tightly closed I visited the church to have my vision of the Virgin Mary. To be graced with the light of you. For that light to shine through my mouth, my intestines and simple veins. For you to see me entirely, even what they could not see with their eyes. But your eyes, your eyes would see through and past me. Far to the deep pit of where I longed to be your Mary. Where I sat in a corner hoping my mother would not come home again with swollen hands from good work. Where I would fix my eyes on any picture of Mary and tilt my head like hers, gently placing my hands where she placed her hands. Because she had touched you with those hands. I ask you to touch me know. That touch I felt when my naked body swung on the pole in what you called hell. That was my church. My holiness. Me cleansing the souls of those men. My way to speak to you. You choose not to listen. The way Mary cleansed the dirt of this world with the mutilation of her son. That I gave my son to you. I killed him for you. His spirit grows with you. I trusted him to you. What could I have given him? That you could not give him? Who was I to keep a growing life that I would shame.
GLOSSY PAGE PIMPS (one act) – Written and performed by Teo Castellanos and Raquel Almazan, featuring music by DJ Snowhite. Staged reading, directed by Michael John Garces. Glossy Page Pimps is a critical and humorous assessment of popular culture‘s misogynistic slant that explores the oldest profession of Pimpin’ and Ho’s set to a soundtrack of old school funk and contemporary Hip Hop. Commissioned by Miami Light Project.
From music videos on BET and MTV, commercials on major networks and print advertisements in magazines, we are constantly assaulted by images and sounds that objectify women and other minorities. However, there is debate that if a woman is an active participant-willingly modeling or dancing-then it isn’t misogynistic or denigrating. Who owns images? Who decides how genders and different racial groups will be defined? How do those definitions and descriptions ultimately affect generations of youth and their self-image? How does it effect overall race relations and progressive movements in the United States? D-Projects will set the stage to explore these questions in a work that reflects a sorely needed female voice in a male dominated Hip Hop community. Glossy Page Pimps will offer genuine aspects of women’s lives and explore issues pertinent to them, within a spectrum ranging from the blatant chauvinism of commercial rap to the message of unity.
Hip hop theatre piece.
Female rap artist 20’s – But touch this, ladies in history had to gain power by tricks sliding through back doors. In Europe they had to create their own communities so that they could learn how to read. Fathers selling their virgins for food. Permanent bruises on smooth skins from stone throwers. Whores of Babylon- making a Jezebel of us all, Nell Gwynne in London, Phryne and Thais of Greece, Theodora of the Byzantine Empire, erect a statue for these goddesses, tear apart the dirt and lift the bitches from the ground who had to screw their way up society. “the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Burn that shit. And when you finally find yourself a woman, you find you have unwillingly sold your womanhood to those who used your innocence and sexual spiritual energy as fuel. Curse these doooooggsss! My statue is that silver screen, high rise billboards and them glossy pages. Resurrecting the bitches glory.
JUNKYARD FOOD (full length) – workshop production – New Playwrights Festival at the Louis O Gerrits Theatre at New World School of the Arts. Directed by David Kwiat performances by Tarell Mc Craney and Rodney Gardner.
Junkyard Food reveals the struggle of two brothers, the older Bill hungry to burn down the family Junkyard, and the younger “baby boy”, Henry obsessed with exposing the violent secrets the Junkyard is hiding. Henry fights for their lives and their abusive love in an uncertain future with newly dead parents. As their parent’s ghosts haunt them, Henry forces Bill to awaken to the horrors of his crimes and their hidden past.
HENRY – Or when Mama would turn to the right of the stove to gently get the salt for the him. I saw myself every mornin’, grabbin’ the pan. You know with the real hot oil and just shovin’ his face right into it. To burn his lips off. Never to eat eggs again.You never had the guts to say I love you Mama. To say thank you Mama. Thank you for washing my boots with your fuckin’ mouth, with your spit. Thank you for the clean blue shirts you scrub with the cheap green soap that cuts open your hands. How bout thank you for combing my hair when I was little when kids made fun of me cause I didn’t know how to do it.
BILL- (To Mama.) That’s not real Mama! You even kept the yellow flower he gave you. In your God damn bible. Good ole’ God. Love sure got you Mama. Love ain’t nothin’ to go for Mama. And don’t try to tell me that you didn’t smell the flower everyday. Before or after a beatin’. Tryin’ to sniff love out of somewhere. (To Mama.)Well I am sorry…sorry that you loved me Mama. I suppose when I was seven I said I loved you once. And you held onto that for all this time. If I’d only had an ounce of your blindness.
(To Henry.) But I see now too that I can’t let you have Papa. Everyday I’d know. That she’d be burnin’ him’. I’d die one day, all of this still going on. I won’t meet that with my death. Selfish as it is. I have to stop it now. (To Mama.) So fight me if you have to Mama cause I won’t let you take Papa. Don’t fuck with me Mama.
HENRY – (In his face now.) I’m fuckin’ with you Bill. (Bringing his father’s body closer.)
UR-FAUST – A Lunatic Mythical Opera For The Millennium (full length) was first produced at the New World Conservatory and then toured to Hyterio Theatre in Athens, Greece. Directed by Jorge Guerra. Choreographed by Ocatvio Campos. Raquel served with dramaturgy and performed as Margaret.
An impressionistic approach to the legend of Faust, taking episodes from Goethe: a middle aged successful professor comes to a point in his life where nothing satisfies him. In despair he conjures the dark spirits that initiates a series of adventures in his attempt to conquer society. Using a variety of mixed media and movement this multi-layered theatre piece examines the breakdown of the Y2K syndrome as we look into “UR” meaning primitive- drive of Faust in all of us.
ALIVE DEAD BABY (full length)- Received a reading at New World Conservatory and excerpts at the Drama Book Shop in NYC.
Mama and Sidney, (mother and daughter), have fled to a self built cabin in the woods in hopes of escaping horrors of their former life. After Sidney is attacked by a stranger, she forces Mama to reveal that real live past ghosts have come to haunt them in this dire time. Their violent love for one another is challenged when Sidney discovers who she really is and has to fight with her newfound knowledge to keep her and Mama alive.
MAMA- I got beat sometimes cause of you. I’d protect you and I’d get slapped with them wires too.
SIDNEY – Do you know what it was like living with him? I was a rat in a cage, and he’d toy with me and I never understood why. I would pray every night for God to tell me who he was. I’d ask, “who is that man, that dragon who sleeps on the couch and can’t stop makin toast”? A man who tried to talk with me and then in the middle of my sentences he’d walk away, just walk away into the back yard. Sometimes he’d laugh at my jokes. Maybe almost touch me he was so happy to see me but he always found a way to take that away. When he was ready to strike I just stood still, and looked him straight in the eye. Always holdin’, always holdin’. Even when he pushed me with that sick on the floor. I was still holdin’. And still I tried to love him. To get him his ice tea when he wanted it. He use to say, “you’ll never get married, you’re too hard, too bad”. So I never will be wearing a wedding dress myself Mama.
(Picking at her dress.)
SIDNEY- I got what Mama? No I have my life.
MAMA – I never saw myself the same again. I don’t like showers. My belly button wasn’t mine. He put his finger there. I was humming a tune I made up. I had a huge grey bucket. No shoes on. He grabbed my wrist real hard. Took my bucket and smashed it against my ear. Shoved my head up against the tree, a foot away, no two feet away. His eyes white. His beard, all that hair, oil, all I could smell was oil. Pushed my chin up, trees, branches is all I could see. His face becoming the branches. I couldn’t hear but I could feel the wind all over, no more clothes. And I could feel the dirt on my skin all over. The ax, the ax, the ax, he put it real slow on my chest. Steel. Cold. And I was still. Didn’t move. Calm. He was too. That calmness, the ease of a devil. Then I kicked him and his dirty knees went under. Holdin’ me down. Rippin’ my clothes off. I kept seeing his ax pushin’ in me if I did anything. He broke through me, all of me. And then the blood came to me, his blood, cracked my knee, like my stomach would explode, like my breast would come off.
When it seemed like he was through with me, a chewed up steak or something, the grip on my wrist got real loose.
(Looking around for Ax Man.)