A story of intertwined lives in contemporary Mexico performed in English and Spanish with subtitles
Presented by CalArts Center for New Performance

in association with Duende CalArts and The University of Guadalajara Foundation

Written by Alejandro Ricaño
Directed by Martín Acosta

Strangers find their lives suddenly intertwined by acts of violence and corruption in Timboctou, a wryly humorous and provocative new play written by Alejandro Ricaño and set against the volatile backdrop of the Mexican drug wars and intense border politics. This world premiere production imagines Timboctou as a mysterious, unreachable refuge at the end of the earth and illustrates the narrow line between victim and victimized.

Writing with pulp fiction excess, mixed with caustic humor and fearless observation, award-winning Mexican playwright Alejandro Ricaño addresses life in contemporary Mexico with a fresh and trenchant voice. Set against the volatile backdrop of border politics and the drug wars, Ricaño’s play illustrates the narrow line between victim and victimized as strangers have their lives suddenly intertwined through acts of violence and corruption, leading them to dream of Timboctou, a mythological, unattainable refuge at the end of the earth.

Celebrated Mexico City-based director Martín Acosta leads the binational cast and creative team for this highly visual multimedia work, a unique collaboration between the CalArts Center for New Performance, its bilingual theater initiative Duende CalArts and the University of Guadalajara’s Cultura presenting organization. Following the Los Angeles performances at REDCAT, Timboctou was performed at Teatro Esperimental in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Artistic director of Teatro de Arena and described by El Informador as “one of the most important creators of theater in Mexico,” Martín Acosta has produced theatrical works performed throughout the Americas, Spain, and Portugal. His signature productions include Hamlet; an adaptation of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which toured the U.S. for three months prior to performances in New York at LaMama; and John Jesurun’s bilingual  Faust/How I Rose at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Alejandro Ricaño is the author of 10 published works, which have been performed throughout Mexico as well as in Spain, Hungary, Belgium and Miami. A two time finalist for the Gerardo Mancebo del Castillo National Prize for Young Playwrights, he was awarded the prize in 2008 for Más pequeños que el Guggenheim (Smaller than the Guggenheim). Last November, his play Riñon de Cerdo para el desconsuelo (Pork Kidneys to Sooth Despair) was included in the sixth annual U.S./Mexico Word Exchange, a 10-day residency and theatrical dialogue between Mexican and U.S. playwrights held in New York, sponsored by Lark Play Development Center.

In Spanish and English with subtitles.

Funded in part with generous support from the California Community Foundation, the University of Guadalajara Foundation, and the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Performance History

REDCAT, Los Angeles, 2012
Teatro Esperimental, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2012

Production Team

Alejandro Ricano, Playwright
Martin Acosta, Director
Ichi Balmori, Movement Designer
Angel Herrera, Scenic Designer
Mario Marín del Río, Costume Designer
Ellie Rabinowitz, Lighting Designer
Omar V. Delgado, Video Designer
Keith Skretch, Video Designer
Julianne Figueroa, Production Manager
Ben Womick, Technical Director
Jennifer Wilson, Stage Manager
Carol Bixler, Producer
Gabriel Alvarez Garcia, Actor
Michael Aurelio, Actor
Rodrigo Becerril Abarca, Actor
Gabriela del Carmen Sanchez Escatel, Actor
Jeremy Kinser, Actor
Mario Montaño Mora, Actor
Sofia Olmos Vazquez, Actor
Juan Parada, Actor
Manuel Parra Garcia, Actor
Kyle Stockburger, Actor
David Gaitán, Assistant to the Director
Emily Heller, Assistant Production Manager
Tania Salas Platt,  Scenic Artist
Yan Da Li and Aaron McKinney, Associate Producers