Press release

Granada Artist’s Zona Rosa Project Explores Evolution Of Gay Rights At UC Davis

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UC Davis Department of Theatre & Dance presentsThe Zona Rosa Project, a Sideshow Lab workshop production devised and directed by Granada Artist-in-Residence Michael Barakiva. The Zona Rosa Project is inspired by the real-life story of Francisco Estrada Valle, a Mexican doctor who was murdered in 1992 after taking an active role in the gay rights movement and the AIDS crisis. The production opens at Wyatt Pavilion Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 13 and plays through Sunday, Oct. 16. All seating is complimentary and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Zona Rosa Project explores Mexico’s developing attitude to H.I.V.-positive individuals as well as the remarkable evolution of gay rights in the deeply Catholic country. The project’s launching point is the life of Dr. Francisco Estrada Valle (1957-1992) whose murder has never been solved. Barakiva aims to explore how Valle’s work changed the perception of homosexuality in Mexico, and the differences in attitudes toward homosexuality in rural and urban areas, among other themes.

“I am most interested in where the personal and the political overlap: how did a boy from a rural village become a galvanizing form in the urban heart of this country?” Barakiva said. “How did his medical profession influence his role in the AIDS crisis?  What were the possible motives or identities of his murderers?  How did Valle’s death affect the movement he had started?”

Award-winning UC Davis faculty serve as production designers: John Iacovelli, scenic design, Maggie Morgan, costume design and Thomas J. Munn, lighting design. The ensemble cast includes UC Davis graduate student Afi Ayanna and undergraduates: Christopher Boyle, Felix Cuma, Jaki Joanino, Michael Lutheran, Gordon Meacham, Ulysses Morazan, Connie Perez, Alison Sundstrom and Brendan Ward.

Talkbacks with the director, UC Davis faculty and ensemble will be held after the performance.  

Michael Barakiva is an Armenian/Israeli director based in New York City. His credits include the premieres of Wendy Wasserstein’s Welcome to My Rash and Third at Theater J in Washington, D.C., the first workshop of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and UP by Bridget Carpenter at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is the Resident Director of the Lake George Theater Lab and also appeared in an episode of MTV’s “Made,” coaching two high school students through the process of writing, directing and producing a play. Barakiva’s awards and affiliations include the David Merrick Prize in Drama and the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab.

This production is rated PG-13. It contains frank discussions of homosexuality including intricacies of the sexual act.

Performance dates and venues are subject to change.

What: The Zona Rosa Project, a Sideshow Lab workshop production, devised & directed by Granada Artist-in-Residence Michael Barakiva, explores Mexico’s developing attitude to H.I.V.-positive individuals as well as the remarkable evolution of gay rights in the deeply Catholic country. Launching point is the life of Dr. Francisco Estrada Valle (1957-1992) whose murder has never been solved.

Where: Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, UC Davis

When: Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 13-15 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: Free of charge: first-come, first-served.

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