New Museum artists in residence Ensayos premiere Act I of their experimental ecofeminist drama Cucú and Her Fishes.
Ensayos’ play Cucú and Her Fishes casts undisciplined research methods into cyberspace. The play develops as a shared passion for ocean advocacy draws nine women together. In Act I, the women plan a second expedition to the bottom of the sea. The actions and conversations draw from Ensayos’ fieldwork, which consists of creative experiments and residencies in Tierra del Fuego (Chile/Argentina); Svalbard (Norway); New York Aquarium (USA); and the Coral Sea (Australia).
Set in a peat bog in Tierra del Fuego, the collaborators critically and affirmatively explore ecofeminist questions of ocean health. Through multiple languages, diverse embodiments, and transdisciplinary perspectives, the activists, artists, ecologists, and social scientists who co-create this performance dive headlong into more-than-human storytelling. Characters speak in Spanish and English, and the play is subtitled.
The play is inspired by Fefu and Her Friends (1977), a feminist work by Cuban-born American avant-garde director and playwright María Irene Fornés (1930 – 2018). In Fornés’ play, the audience moves through different locations of a deconstructed stage and experience characters debating gender roles, interspecies ethics, and cooperative action in a “plotless” narrative.
Performative experimentation and complex kinships suit Ensayos’ practice. Their work is archipelagic in geography and thought, drawing unexpected connections from islands and coastlines from the Arctic Circle to the Southernmost tip of South America. Through the development and rehearsal of character and story in Cucú and Her Fishes, Ensayistas expand their commitment to coastal stewardship and incorporate multispecies perspectives.
Collaborators began meeting online for weekly rehearsals in March 2020, drawing on compositional and somatic practices including Fornés’ generative writing exercises, Cote Junemann’s Canalizations, theater directors Anne Bogart and Tina Landau’s Viewpoints, and Camila Marambio’s METitative prompts. Prior to global quarantine measures due to Covid-19, Ensayos had conceived Cucú and Her Fishes as a project that would be developed and performed in the physical space of the New Museum with the participation of remote collaborators. Shifting plans and sustaining a decade of growing international collaboration, Ensayos will entirely develop and premiere Act I within virtual space.
Ensayos’ bilingual play Cucú and Her Fishes will screen on: September 1, 2020 at 6AM, 2PM, and 8PM ET.
The 2PM screening will be followed by a Q&A with Ensayos cast members. This is the culminating event of our summer virtual residency at the New Museum.
The play will stream at this – LINK