Luis Rafael Sánchez to be Honored in The Bronx By Pregones Theater & Hostos Community College

April 23, 2012 | Hostos Community College

Hostos Community College and Pregones Theater are thrilled to announce an on-going alliance that aims to recognize and present, to general audiences, the master artists and civic leaders of our community.  In this spirit, Hostos and Pregones proudly present the prolific Puerto Rican author Luis Rafael Sánchez for two public events that will celebrate and honor his important contributions to contemporary Latin American literature. On April 28th and May 1st, Sánchez  will receive the Master Artist Award 2012 and the Hostos Community College President’s Medal.

The Master Artist Award series, now running its 5th year at Pregones, seeks to honor artists in all disciplines that have demonstrated artistic excellence and merit; commitment to their art form; and commitment to passing on knowledge to the next generation. The Hostos Community College President’s Medal is the highest honor the institution can bestow to an individual with an exemplary record of sustained and acknowledged contributions in the arts and civic involvement that has influenced society.

On Saturday, April 28th Pregones will present Sánchez with the Master Artist 2012 Award and then premiere an excerpt opera version of La passion según Antígona Pérez, one of Sánchez’s key plays. The Classical composer Carlos Carrillo created the play’s music; Alvan Colón Lespier will direct the excerpt performance and Desmar Guevara, its musical director, will conduct and collaborate in the artistic exchange.  The presentation of La passion según Antígona Pérez is a special fund-raising evening performance for Pregones Theater.

The second part of the tribute will be an open conversation (un conversatorio) with Luis Rafael Sánchez that will take place on Tuesday, May 1st at the Hostos Repertory Theater. President Félix Matos Rodríguez will confer Sánchez with the Hostos President’s Medal. Renowned critic Arcadio Díaz Quiñones will introduce the author. And noted journalist Norberto Bogard will moderate. This event will be in Spanish and open to the public free of charge.

Luis Rafael Sánchez is regarded as one of the most accomplished playwrights and narrators in contemporary Latin American literature.

His widely performed plays and challenging narratives explore issues of race and class in Puerto Rico, as well as the conflicts brought about by modernity and the unresolved colonial relationship between the Island and the United States.

Luis Rafael Sánchez has written a dozen plays, including La pasión según Antígona Pérez,

Los ángeles se han fatigado, Farsa del amor compradito, and Quíntuples.  He has also published several novels, as well as books of short stories and essays.  In 1976 his novel La Guaracha del Macho Camacho earned him recognition as an important voice among top Latin American writers.  It was translated into English as Macho Camacho’s Beat by Gregory Rabassa, one of the outstanding English-language translators.  In 1979 Sánchez won a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1991 he was named Distinguished Professor at The City University of New York.  In 1996 he was conferred the honor of “Humanist of the Year” by the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities, and three years later was appointed to the “Julio Cortázar Literary Chair” at the University of Guadalajara, in Mexico.

Sánchez’s work is highly significant and relevant, as it deals with Puerto Rico’s identity and its contemporary state of affairs.  His plays and stories are filled with conflicts that cannot be resolved in dignified ways.  In his most poignant texts, humor and satire are instrumental in unveiling the duplicity and opportunism that often permeate that Island’s situations.

His work highlights the contradictions and caricatures created by a colonial society that refuses to see itself for what it is.  In his narrative essay La guagua aérea, he portrays the Puerto Rican migration to the United States in human and social terms with its own dynamics and complexities.  The text takes the reader through the actual journey, an airborne tableau steeped in comedy, with an unlikely cast of characters and the cultural baggage that migrants bring to this country.

Luis Rafael Sánchez is a writer who has contributed to a rethinking of the Caribbean experience, and New Yorkers will have a great opportunity to see his work and to be part of a dialogue about it during the events scheduled at Teatro Pregones and Hostos.

Event Information at Pregones Theater (575 Walton Avenue/149th Street)

Saturday, April 28th at 8:00pm

La passion según Antígona Pérez and Master Artist Award

Special Benefit Performance

For Ticket & Box Office information:

Contact: Priscilla Aguilar – paguilar@pregones.org

718-585-1202

www.pregones.org

Event Information at Hostos Community College (450 Grand Concourse)

Tuesday, May 1st at 5:30pm

A conversation with Luis Rafael Sánchez

Free Admission – In Spanish

Hostos Repertory Theater (450 Grand Concourse, Building C)

Ticket and Box Office information: Phone: 718-518-4455

www.hostos.cuny.edu

About the Master Artist Series

In the 2008-2009 Season, Pregones launched the Latino Master Artist Award project, with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It was the result of a 5-year process in which Pregones was involved in an advisory council with the NEA’s Presenting Program to broaden the agency’s perspective of what a Master Artist is. The overall goal was to empower arts organizations in communities across the country to define and decide who our Master Artists are.

Pregones was one of the first organizations to be funded and the only one funded continuously during the three years that the program existed. The program recently folded but the idea behind it was that organizations would find ways to continue the tradition once the structures were in place. Having worked on a structure, Pregones continues committed with its Master Artist Award project. Past Latino Master Artists:  Music: Danny Rivera (vocalist/popular music); Papo Vázquez (jazz); Eva de La O (classical); Juan Gutiérrez (traditional); and Henry Hutchinson (classical). Dance: Merián Soto and Arthur Avilés (contemporary/choreography) Literature: Sandra María Esteves and Magdalena Gómez (poetry and theater).

About Hostos Community College

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2012 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 10,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

About Pregones Theater

Pregones Theater is a Bronx-based ensemble whose mission is (1) to create and perform original musical theater and plays rooted in Puerto Rican/Latino cultures, and (2) to present other performing artists who share our twin commitment to the arts and civic enrichment. The company is proud owner of a professional performing arts facility on Walton Avenue, south of Yankee Stadium, in the heart of the burgeoning South Bronx Cultural Corridor.

Media contact for both events:

Soldanela Rivera – srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu

Phone: 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097