THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY’S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS
“MASSEUR” BY CHRISTIAN ÁVILA
An examination of power dynamics between gender, race, and class during the MeToo era
NEW YORK, July 17 – The touch business is rarely about being heard. In “Masseur”, a new dance-theater piece written and directed by Christian Ávila, professionalism succumbs to sexual favors when a Latino massage-therapist trying to make ends meet in New York City is faced with a client who wants more than just a massage. What ensues is anything but out-of-the-ordinary for the masseur, whose station in life repeatedly prevents him from making the honest living he longs for. Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival will present the world premiere of the piece September 6 to September 14.
Set to the bowings of a single on-stage cellist who reflects the movements of the massage, “Masseur” is a topical drama with dance and two actors: a masseur and a client. It opens with a masseur named Jose who is passionate about his work and takes pride in his ability to heal people through massage. A routine massage takes place with his client Fernando, symbolized by choreographed pieces accompanied by a cello sonata. Despite the sensuality of the massage and sense of sexual tension between the client and masseur, both are pleasantly surprised that sex is left off the table. Suddenly, the client and masseur switch roles, becoming each other. Now, acting as two different men, the situation is quite different, and the unabashed client makes some not-so-subtle indications of his desires. The conflicted masseur knows he has a decision to make, and it’s far from the first time. But with little money, the decision is not entirely his. During the MeToo era, which shines a light on the rampancy of sexual abuse in the workplace, “Masseur” tells a needed story, as it examines how race and class complicate issues of sex and gender.
Christian Ávila (author,
director) is a theater artist and activist based in New York City. He
holds an M.A. in theater from CW Post. His undergraduate studies were
at UC Berkeley (B.A. in Dramatic Art). He has studied extensively with
Ann Bogart and SITI Company. Ávila collaborated with Back to
Work Collective on a feminist flash mob performed at The Women’s
March on Washington D.C. He also wrote, directed, and produced “Daddy’s
Boy” as part of the Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City
in 2015. Other credits
The ninth annual Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) is being presented by Theater for the New City from August 26 to September 16. An ultimate new work festival, it is dedicated to the joy of discovering new authors and edgy, innovative performances. Audiences savor the excitement, awe, passion, challenge and intrigue of new plays from around the country and around the world.
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
In addition to traditional
plays, a unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered,
drawing upon a variety of performance genres including musicals, puppetry
and movement theater. The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael
Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining
donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions,
and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
to festival listings