It’s no secret that we at Geva Theatre Center are big BIG fans of Brian Quijada. He’s an actor, playwright, composer and a collaborator whose generosity of spirit is only matched by his energy on the stage. And that’s not to mention his commitment to telling authentic stories for those who rarely see themselves represented in theatre.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since we first announced we would be producing his acclaimed one man show Where Did We Sit On the Bus? in our 2019-2020 season. Our plans for bringing this important piece of theatre to life were put on hold, as all in-person theatre continues to be, but we knew that one thing was certain: the commitment to production, and to Brian, was a WHEN, not an if.
In May 2020, as the world settled into the idea that the pandemic would not just be a one-month-and-done deal like we had all assumed, Literary Director Jenni Werner and Associate Artistic Director/Director of Engagement Pirronne Yousefzadeh interviewed Brian for episode three of the Out of the Rehearsal podcast. In it, they discussed his journey to playwriting, inspirations, live-looping and upcoming projects.
In October 2020, Brian generously agreed to mentor 16 year old Anthony D. Smith, Jr. and the two collaborated on a video for John’s Children, A Civic Arts Initiative for Young Adults. Their two minute video fused original hip-hop audio and photography in a lyrical project celebrating the legacy of legendary Civil Rights leader, John Lewis. Anthony and Brian were a perfect match – it’s clear from the final video that they share an intricate way of melding rhythms and story in order to both entertain and educate.
MORE ON JOHN'S CHILDREN: This election season, Geva brings you "John's Children," a civic art project honoring the late congressman and civil-rights activist John Lewis. We've paired 15 young people, ages 15-25, with artist mentors to produce Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in response to the prompt, "What is the part you’re called to play in creating what John Lewis called, the “Beloved Community?" Learn more on the Geva Education website.
And now, in February 2021, we are so thrilled that the ‘when’ of our commitment to producing Brian’s play is NOW. Yesterday, we launched an on-demand HD video recording of Where Did We Sit On the Bus?, in partnership with Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.
This performance was directed by Chay Yew (make sure to catch the season 2 episode 6 podcast conversation with Chay HERE!) and originally produced by Victory Gardens Theater. Hay subtítulos en español disponibles (Spanish subtitles available).
The production is streaming now until March 7th! You definitely don’t want to miss this outstanding performance that we have all been waiting for!
“This video feels like the culmination of all my performances of my solo show. This feels like the HBO Special of Where Did We Sit on the Bus? I had been polishing my performance for 5 years, it was my return to Chicago, and most importantly, my parents were in the audience. We were lucky the Emmy award-winning Bitter Jester Studios captured this night.”Brian Quijada
With pulsing rhythms and original rhymes set to a live-looped soundtrack, Brian Quijada’s electric one man show is a hip-hop autobiography about falling in love with performance, the power of family, and growing up Latino in a world that categorizes everyone in black and white.
Want to hear Brian and other notable Latinx artists discuss The Future of Latinx Representation on Stage & Screen? Register now to join our Amplify Series conversation this Monday March 1st.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRIAN’S WORK:
READ BRIAN’S FULL BIO BELOW!
BRIAN QUIJADA is an actor, playwright, musician, an award-winning solo performer, and Co-Artistic Director of The Wild Wind Performance Lab at Texas Tech University. Brian was born in the Greater Chicagoland Area to Salvadoran parents. After majoring in Theater and English at The University of Iowa, and spending a year post-graduation in Chicago, Brian moved to New York City, where he is now based. His acting work has been seen all across The United States and internationally. Brian’s writing work has been produced from coast to coast and focuses on immigration, the human condition, identity, and the Latinx-American experience.
As an educator, Quijada has taught solo performance, social justice, verse writing, and devised theatrical looping master classes for Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park University, Carlow College, Slippery Rock University, University of New Mexico, KCATCF Region 7 (Pacific Northwest) and Region 3 (Northern Midwest), Western Washington University, Hunter College, Los Medanos College, Texas Tech University’s Wild Wind Performance Lab, and The Kennedy Center.
Quijada is a two-time Jeff Award winner in Chicago and a two-time Drama Desk Nominee in NYC. He is a proud member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City.