Pew Fellow of the Week: An Interview with Theater Artist Alex Torra


Alex Torra. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Our “Pew Fellow of the Week” series focuses on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges.

Theater artist Alex Torra (2018) spoke to us about his concentration on physical theater and why language sometimes feels “limiting,” as well as his in-progress work rooted in his Cuban American familial history. Torra’s ensemble-created, experimental performance work blends theater, dance, and music and invites audiences to consider the complexities of contemporary cultural identity, community, and humanity. At Philadelphia’s FringeArts June 4–8, 2019 Torra’s company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, will stage The Sincerity Project #3, the third installment in a 12-part, 24-year performance project featuring the same ensemble of performer-creators in each iteration.

Alex Torra Q&A: Content Block 1

Alex Torra Q&A: Content Block 2

Alex Torra Q&A: Content Block 3

What music are you listening to and/or which books are on your bedside table?

I have periods of time when I listen to the same artist or album over and over, and they become the background for my life. At the moment (actually for the last year, on and off) I’ve been on a big Fleetwood Mac kick. On my bedside table, I’ve got some Federico García Lorca plays, a guide book to Mexico, bell hooks’ all about love, and a novel by Cuban author G. Cabrera Infante called Three Trapped Tigers.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

For a long time my alternative career plan was to go into the Foreign Service, maybe as like a cultural attaché or to serve as part of the diplomatic core, but I don’t know if I could feel comfortable representing our nation at the moment.

I did a lot of music as a kid, and ended up in theater because I was at a school that didn’t really have a music program. There’s a little part of me that always dreamed of being a conductor. I remember watching, as a kid, a TV program of Leonard Bernstein conducting the album recording of West Side Story, and I was totally enthralled. A little part of me has always been sad to not have pursued that path, but maybe what I do now isn’t all that different.

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