Named for the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot that must be sacrificed to produce the rest of the rice, Pegao centers on a high-stakes domino game in Vieques in the late 70s. Doña Lina (grandmother) trying to pass on the skill of dominos to a younger generation while her granddaughter Negri finds her power in strategizing in the game of life. Woven into the narrative are themes of migration to American cities like Hartford, U.S. military presence in Vieques, colorism, the forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women, resiliency and joy. This play is written in Spanish and Spanglish.
FROG HOLLOW STATE OF MIND
Frog Hollow, A State of Mind features the Lion Lady, her son Princey-Boy, Amazon Woman, and Count me in, Everybody's Grandma and of course Mr. Nothing But Trouble as they navigate life in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford, CT. This eclectic montage of characters work together (and sometimes against each other) to stay financially afloat and battle city budget cuts to their beloved community. The new play, written by HartBeat Ensemble member and Frog Hollow resident, Cin Martinez, is part of HartBeat's ongoing Neighborhood Investigative Project, in which, through interview-based theater, we bring the stories of each Hartford neighborhood to life, helping communities celebrate accomplishments and visualize solutions to common struggles.
RIDING THE TURNPIKE
Set in a strip club on the Connecticut Berlin Turnpike, Riding The Turnpike introduces four women involved in prostitution in different ways and for different reasons. The lines between who is trafficked, who is there of their own free will and who is there for survival, are blurred as the club comes under criminal investigation and the women navigate their own disparate situation, each more complex than the next. Inspired by the book, The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America, written by Raymond Bechard.
Flipside takes on nothing less weighty than the failure of our nation's drug control policy, arguing that its current logic and implementation destroy far more lives than they help; remarkably, the production accomplishes this without lapsing into sermonizing or sentimentality. Flipside manages to be poignant, heartbreaking, funny, musical, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining in 80 minutes. It examines the failed drug war through a microcosmic world shared by "Bo" (Chinaza Uche), a young African American heroin dealer trying to escape poverty and the crushing effects of his mother's mental illness, and Nick (Brian Jennings), a hardened and wizened undercover police officer who now questions the very work to which he has sacrificed his entire life. Both characters are pawns - of politicians, an overzealous and robotic police hierarchy, and a general public appeased by sensational drug busts that, in reality, do little to change the landscape. Flipside's authenticity is admirable: to shape this convincing portrait of ruined lives, the ensemble spent three years working on Julia B. Rosenblatt's script and its creators (the entire ensemble had a hand in bringing it to life) conducted interviews and public forums with individuals on all sides of the drug war.