The LAB: Radical Evolution
Sep 21, 2022
About the Program
Join us on Wednesday, September 12th for The LAB curated by Radical Evolution
Radical Evolution (producing ensemble/theatre) is a multiethnic producing collective committed to creating artistic events that seek to understand the complexities of the mixed-identity existence in the 21st Century. We believe that visibility and representation for the fastest-growing demographic in our nation – those who identify as more than one race or ethnicity – is crucial to live performance. We incorporate people from a variety of backgrounds into our creative process, with a focus on people of color, to seed the field of experimental and collaboratively created theatre with practitioners that celebrate the intersectionality of perspectives and aesthetics of the city around us. Through this approach, we work to assert a vision for cultural and social equity in our field, city, and nation.
The collective was founded in 2011 by Beto O’Byrne and Meropi Peponides, theatre-makers who are interested in utilizing an ensemble-based approach to create ambitious, cross-disciplinary performance works. Over the past seven years of programming and development, Radical Evolution has produced two world premiere productions to the audience and critical acclaim. The Golden Drum Year: a story in poetry and prose garnered universal critical response, being called “…an artsy, expressionistic love poem to a diverse and dynamic NYC…” (theasy.com). Of Loving and Loving, which opened on the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia supreme court decision that inspired the piece, HowlRound new crit writer Brett Aresco wrote, “At its core, [it is] a simple love story: two people trying to make it work against all odds. But its historical significance and relevance to today’s world make it invaluable.”
In addition to the company’s productions, we have produced numerous developmental workshops, and participated in residencies and workshops at Pregones Theater, El Teatro Campesino, The Performance Project @ University Settlement, The Harold Clurman Lab Theatre, IRT Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, Tofte Lake Center, Governor’s Island, The Rough Draft Festival at LPAC, and the New Ohio Theatre. Radical Evolution has received funding and support from significant cultural funders such as the MAPFund, Network of Ensemble Theatres, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYSCA, Off-Broadway Angels, the Puffin Foundation, and robust support from our individual donors.
The LAB is a free public event held each month. These events are curated by local and national artists who are in residency at our theatre the month prior to their event. The subjects that are explored in The LAB are as dynamic as the artists that host them. In a year where change is the status quo, join The LAB for an empowering venture into curiosity, innovation, and creation in real-time.
Galia Backal is a first-generation Mexican American director, choreographer, and collaborator. She is drawn to work that supports themes of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality, specifically pieces that center women and Latinx stories. Galia received her BA in Directing from Pace University and is a part of the 2020 – 2022 Roundabout Directors Group Cohort. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at Circle in the Square Theatre School and is a 2022 Audrey Resident at New Georges. Galia was a part of The Civilians 2020 – 2021 R&D Group. Recent directing credits include The Archive by Alisha Espinosa (Pace University), In the End (Pace University Devised Piece), EVERYBODY by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (LIU Post Theatre Company), The Show Must Go On: Musical Revue (Bay View Music Festival), El Cóndor Mágico by Noelle Viñas (The Civilians R&D Group), Untitled Puppet Show by Daniella De Jesús (San Diego Repertory Theater), INÚTIL by Alisha Espinosa (Teatro LATEA), Canciones Project Workshop by Beto O’Byrne (The Sol Project), The End of Incorporated Filth by Chloe Hayat (The Chain Theater), West Side Story (Bay View Music Festival), and Latch by Tom Mularz (Samuel French OOB Festival).
Julián Mesri is a New York-based Argentinean-American composer and writer who makes multilingual plays and musicals in the US and around the world. Previous work with Radical Evolution includes performing, music directing and arranging Songs About Trains at the New Ohio with Working Theater. He is a current member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group and received a 2020-2021 EST/Sloan Commission. Most recently he served as Music Director and co-orchestrator for Brian Quijada’s Somewhere Over the Border at Syracuse Stage and Geva Theater. Upcoming work includes Favaloro (EST /Sloan First Light Festival), and the presentation of his thesis musical Telo (O’Neill NMTC Finalist) in May. Mesri has been an Emerging Artist Fellow at NYTW and a Van Lier fellow at Repertorio Español. He received his MFA from Columbia University. www.julianmesri.com
Beto O’Byrne (he/him) hails from East Texas and is the co-founder of Radical Evolution, a multi-ethnic, multi-disciplinary producing collective based in Brooklyn, NY. The author of 20 plays, screenplays, and original tv pilots, his works have been produced in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York City. He was the 2017 playwright-in-residence at the Stella Adler School of Acting, and a 2050 Playwriting Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop. In addition, O’Byrne is an advocate for the performing arts field, having worked with organizations such as Theatre Communications Group, La Cooperativa of Latinx Theatre Artists of NYC, and the Latinx Theatre Commons. He is the creator of the World of Kir fantasy series and teaches writing and theatre classes at Brooklyn College and Pace University. MFA, Dramatic Writing: University of Southern California. www.betoobyrne.com
Sara Ornelas was born and raised deep in the heart of Texas and wears her Mexican roots proudly. As a child she sang at every opportunity at church and usually played Satan. She received her BFA at the University of Houston and has spent the last 6 years in New York City working on productions in and outside of the US. Her credits include: Frida Kahlo in A Ribbon About A Bomb, Maria in West Side Story, and Boli in American Mariachi. She recently debuted at the New Ohio Theater in Radical Evolution’s Songs About Trains! If she’s not watching The Great British Baking Show she’s boxing, doing her friends’ nails, and sending Tik Toks at 3am. IG: Saravornelas