The Grass is Always Greener….
Immigration. Roots. Discrimination. Memory.
Part of Arts in Odd Places Festival (AIOP) at 14th Street /Union Square Park, in front of Whole Foods, NYC
Choreography: Anabella Lenzu
Poetry: Gabriela Mistral
Acting/Vocal Coach: Daniel Pettrow
Costumes: Jennifer Johanos
Dancers: Lauren Ohmer & Anabella Lenzu
Conceived and directed by Argentinean choreographer Anabella Lenzu, “The Grass is Always Greener…” is a gripping, polemical piece of dance-theater that hashes the personal, practical, and political struggles of immigrants to the United States. The piece moves in between the turn of the twentieth century, during the great waves of immigration at Ellis Island, and modern day. In a non-linear approach, the work weaves in scenes from our current conflict on US immigration policy, bringing the contemporary debate into sharp relief against historical, forgotten experiences.
Two women travel through time, across borders, and along the roads of memory and anticipation. Each carrying her own suitcase filled with memorabilia, images of home, and hopes for a new life, these voyagers are archetypal immigrants caught between cultures. The women arrive in a new land, carrying old traditions to which they no longer relate, finding fault with the home to which they do not yet belong. Past and present are superimposed, the lines of individual narratives blur. As the women unpack their suitcases to share their stories with the audience, Lenzu unpacks the question of what it means to be an immigrant, whether in 1900 or 2014.
Deported before becoming a legal resident in 2005, Lenzu offers the audience insight into the minds of immigration’s advocates and adversaries through words and motion. Lenzu reconstructs physical drama using contemporary movement and character development; her movement vocabulary originates from rustic primal gestures with accents of sweeping lyrical action, which transports the audience to a vibrant physical and emotional space. While movement and poetry work on the audience’s subconscious in the piece, Lenzu exposes the spectrum and radicalism of the debate in text taken not only from immigrants but also from anti-immigration organizations. Connecting the personal and political sides of immigration, Lenzu strives to redefine the relationship between audience and performer, encouraging emotional engagement with the work.