Q&A with Pregones Theater’s Alvan Colón Lespier, one of tonight’s panelists!

Our directors are in rehearsal during the day, but we at the Salon are making sure to bring you events every night!  Tonight, join us for our Artistic Director/Producer/Union Panel to hear from Kate Loewald (The Play Company), Peter Dubois (Huntington Theatre), Stephanie Ybarra (Public Theater), Alvan Colón Lespier (Pregones Theater), and Ellen Rusconi (SDC).

Check out our Q&A with Alvan Colón Lespier (Associate Artistic Director, Pregones Theater) below!

Q: Tell us about a typical day on the job.

A: Working in an ensemble where each team member assumes different tasks, I don’t have a typical day.  When not in production, be it for a play that I am directing or a play that the company is producing, I start early in the morning reviewing correspondence.  This is usually followed by meetings with team members or other artists that we may be working with or planning to work with in the future.  There are scheduling issues I have to deal with regarding theater use for rehearsals, community meetings, performances and concerts.  When I am in production mode the schedule is a bit tighter and more intense and a day turns out to be six.  But all this said, it is always good, exciting and fun.

Q: What do you think you most ambitious project has been?

A: The most ambitious project I have been involved with has been the construction of our theater.  A 130 seat, fully equipped theater with workshop areas, comfortable dressing rooms(with bathrooms and showers) and spacious lobby where we exhibit visual arts.  Many people thought we were too ambitious, but if an artist does not have ambition she/he will not create, will not pursue…

Q: If you could change one thing about your job/theater community what would it be?

A: I believe that there is never a “one thing” that should be changed.  We are all immersed in a process, a continuum of actions and impacts and causes and events.  The current political and economic conditions that we are subjected to limit us as citizenry.  So, maybe it is those conditions that should be changed and they will be changed by all of us in concert.

Q: What was the last production/performance you saw that moved you/inspired you?  

A: I am more impressed by the reaction of productions and performances on audiences.  I saw a Broadway musical than won all the prizes – Billy Elliot –  and I don’t recall many such plays that are so staunch in the support of labor, critical of anti-labor government policies and avowedly socialist.  Audiences loved it and established media loved it. It was extremely well done.  But I feel it was comfortable for the audience to like it since it was about foreigners, British miners, British government and of course Billy.  The reaction of the audiences to A Free Man of Color, on the other hand, was a bit more timid.  I sense it was because it was revealing something about US history and some of its venerated founding fathers that Americans in general are not willing to deal with.

Alvan Colón Lespier will be speaking tonight on our Artistic Director/Producer/Union Panel at 7pm at the June Havoc Theater.  For more information on how to RSVP, visit our website or check us out on Facebook.  As always, all of our events are FREE.

Alvan Colón Lespier (Associate Artistic Director, Pregones Theater) is a seasoned stage director, playwright and producer with 30 years experience in professional theater. In previous lives, he was a founding member of Puerto Rico’s popular theater troupe Anamú, and director of the Raúl Juliá Training Unit of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre in New York City. Joining Pregones Theater in 1982, and in the role of Associate Artistic Director, he plays a key role in the ongoing development of the ensemble’s award-winning theatrical repertory and state-of-the-art professional facility, and also serves as head curator of music presentations and visual art exhibits.

Selected stage director credits include La otra orilla (1995), which continues to be broadcast today via BronxNET TV; Ay, Jesús! Oh, Jesus! (2003), later performed as a special showcase at the Museum for the City of New York; Peccatoribus (2004), a featured selection of the 2005 Internationaal Wijktheater Festival in Rotterdam-NL; and Game Over (2008), newly adapted from The Book of Job. He is currently developing a new music theater project titled The Desire of the Astronaut.

His play La Caravana is published in bilingual format as part of the ¡Aplauso! Hispanic Children’s Theater anthology from Arte Público Press, and his reflections on theater form, content, context, and process have been published in Reimaging America: The Arts of Social Change, Conjunto, Inside Arts, and Eva C. Vásquez’s Pregones Theatre: A Theatre for Social Change in the South Bronx, among others.

Mr. Colón Lespier is board member for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./NY) He has served in numerous peer review, evaluation, and discussion panels, round tables, and think tanks about arts making and advocacy. He participates actively in artist networks at the local, regional, and national levels. Recent merit distinctions include a Visionaries fellowship from Ford Foundation and the Maestro award from LP21.

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