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Syracuse Stage announces cast of ‘Tales from the Salt City’
Syracuse Stage announces cast of ‘Tales from the Salt City’September 04, 2008Patrick Finlonstagepr@syr.edu
Syracuse Stage has announced the cast of “Tales from the Salt City,” a world premiere conceived and directed by Ping Chong that opens Oct. 14 and runs through Nov. 2. The production will feature seven residents of Syracuse-both recent arrivals and longstanding residents-who will voice each other’s rich and complex histories, extraordinary experiences and cultural identities.
Kyle Bass, Syracuse Stage’s literary manager and dramaturg for the production, started the search for Syracuse residents in April 2008. Along with Chong and co-writer Sara Zatz, Bass conducted first-round reviews with a pool of about 30 candidates. “We looked for a sense of openness and otherness, those who identify with cultures or heritages that are outside the historically dominant American culture,” says Bass. “It was also important that each person’s story was also a Syracuse story.”
For the next round, potential participants met twice with Chong and Zatz, and then the final group was chosen. According to Bass, “They were chosen based on how their stories bounced off others’ stories, how ideas bounced off each other.” He notes a commonality among the stories: “Each person can pinpoint a person or group that helped them along their path. They did not take their journeys alone.”
Lino T. Ariloka, originally from Sudan in Eastern Africa, has lived in Syracuse for almost eight years. Most of his family is still in Sudan, except for his sister Margaret, who he is putting through primary school in Nairobi, Kenya. Currently he works for The Bank of New York Mellon and interns at On Point for College, a program that helps inner-city children get to college.
Gordana Dudevski, formerly a kindergarten teacher in Veles, Macedonia, has lived in Syracuse for the past 15 years with her husband, Zoran, and their two children, Alexandra and Samuel. This is her first time on stage, and she is happy to have the opportunity to tell the story of Liberty Deli, her current place of employment.
Rebecca Isabel Fuentes, who grew up in Tijuana, a city in northwestern Mexico, has lived in Syracuse for five years along with her husband, Jason Davis, daughter Ellain, son Roberto and mother Isabel Murillo. Currently she is working at the Red Cross as a community ambassador and is an immigrant rights activist with the CNY Detainment Task Force. Previously she served as a specialist in the U.S. Army.
Jose Miguel Hernandez, originally from Cuba, has lived in Syracuse for 11 years. For the past 10 years, he has worked at Rosewood Heights Health Center as a physical therapy aide, while simultaneously serving as a theatre dance instructor with the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County. He has a degree in nursing from The National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology in Havana, Cuba, and a theater degree from Teatro Estudio. In 1999, he founded La Joven Guardia del Teatro Latino (The Latino Theatre’s Youth Troupe) with the Spanish Action League.
Albert Marshall, a Syracuse native who raised his family in Syracuse, has worked at Crucible for 35 years and is president of Local 1277 of the United Steel Workers Union. Marshall has appeared in numerous theatrical productions, including “Our Lady of 121st Street” and “The Member of the Wedding” at The Redhouse and “23 Skidoo” and “Annie” at Theatre ’90.
Emad Rahim, originally from Cambodia, has lived in Syracuse for 17 years. He currently works for SUNY Empire State College as an outreach and recruitment specialist, for the consulting company Innovative Development Inc., and as an adjunct professor at Colorado Technical University and Bryant & Stratton College. He is a member of 40 Below, the “Its All Here” Taskforce and the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS).
Jeanne Shenandoah, a traditional homebirth midwife and herbalist for 25 years, is a member of the Eel Clan of the Onondaga Nation. Shenandoah works at the Onondaga Nation Communications Office, serving on the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force. She is a past vice president of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.
“Tales from the Salt City” is a powerful exploration of the changing face of Syracuse through an interview-based theatrical work that presents first-hand narratives of citizens of Syracuse. Created by theatrical innovator Chong and constructed as a chamber piece of storytelling, the performance features real people telling their personal experiences of creating cultural identity out of rich and complex histories. Chong continues the compelling work he has done throughout the United States, exploring the divergent lives that make up our communities.
For “Tales from the Salt City” ticket information, contact the Syracuse Stage Box Office in person at 820 E. Genesee St., via telephone at (315) 443-3275 or online at http://www.SyracuseStage.org.
In cooperation with the world premiere production of “Tales from the Salt City” at Syracuse Stage, Chong will speak on the SU campus on Oct. 6, as part of the 2008 Syracuse Symposium. A semester-long intellectual and artistic festival, Syracuse Symposium invites the SU and Central New York communities to explore this year’s theme, “migration,” through engaging lectures, concerts, exhibitions and award-winning films. It is presented by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, visit http://www.syracusesymposium.org.