Play explores themes of exile and birth of new subculture

George Fox will host a showing of A Suicide Note from a Cockroach on Sept. 2.A circus theatre spectacle exploring the themes of exile and the birth of a new subculture in America will be presented in George Fox University’s Wood-Mar Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. The public is invited, and admission is free.

The play, entitled A Suicide Note from a Cockroach, puts a comic twist on the existential dilemma of being an immigrant in the U.S. Directed by Carlos Alexis Cruz, an adjunct professor of theatre at George Fox, the story centers around Pedro, a “cockroach” from the low-income housing projects of New York City. Pedro is about to commit suicide after being married seven times and losing both his best friend and his job. He is a poor Latino who has gone from being a human to a suicidal cockroach.

The debut production of Portland’s Pelú Theatre is based on the poem A Suicide Note from a Cockroach in a Low-income Housing Project, written by Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri. The company uses circus as its vocabulary for telling stories: aerialists, tumblers, acrobats, musicians and clowns form an ensemble of cockroaches trying to live a decent life. The one antagonist in the play is a human.

The show will be performed in “Spanglish,” or the language that defined the Puerto Rican exile in NYC. Both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences would not find any trouble in understanding or following the action, according to Cruz.

Cruz graduated from the Masters in Fine Arts in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre program at the Dell’Arte International School in California. There he became particularly interested in the use of circus arts for the telling of a story, and the world of clown theatre.

Pelú Theatre is a company based in Portland, Ore., but rooted in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a result, its artists are interested in the conversation between the theatre tendencies of these two particular places, creating the birth of a third theatre out of a cultural limbo. The company is mainly interested in fusions: circus and theatre, commedia and melodramas, clowns and death.

To learn more about the show, contact Bryan Boyd, associate professor of theatre at George Fox, at 503-554-2639.