MAY 2019, CHICAGO, IL: The ensemble of Black, brown, immigrant, queer, and trans teenagers who developed MAKE AMERICA TEEN ALREADY ( M.A.T.A. ) have come of age in the Trump era - a political moment marked by strong anti-immigration rhetoric, a rolling back of legal protections for women and LGBTQ people, and a persistent scapegoating of Chicago as a place where "criminals and thugs" run wild. In M.A.T.A, under the directorial guidance of Ricardo Gamboa, Sean Parris, and Keren DÃaz de LeÃ"n, the ensemble shares personal stories, explores harsh historical truths, and pieces together the suppressed history of teens as a political force in the U.S to make a compelling case for the necessity of their vision and voice. Both treatise and manifesto, M.A.T.A. is the result of a seven-month rehearsal process at Free Street's Storyfront, a programming space that centers the experiences and stories of residents in Back of the Yards and its neighboring communities.
"One of the most important moments in our rehearsal process for me was on the day the ensemble first shared personal stories about how their lives have been affected by this presidency," says co-director Keren DÃaz de LeÃ"n. "There's this tremendous commitment within these young people to be vulnerable, honest, and to offer each other care. But we also witnessed their bravery and insistence to demand better of this country- to actively fight for a better world and their refusal to settle." M.A.T.A. invites the audience to dream of a more equitable future and urgently demands that youth be taken seriously as agents of change. "This is a play that is about destroying adultism," notes Parris. "This is a play about making a case that being a teenager is as important as being an adult, if not more important."
MAKE AMERICA TEEN ALREADY ( M.A.T.A. ) opens June 10th and runs Mondays and Fridays at 7pm. Free Street is committed to economic and geographic accessibility: all performances are pay-what-you-can and free children's co-programming during the show will be offered on June 21st. The Storyfront space is wheelchair accessible.
Performance dates: June 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, and 28; closing date July 3.
Performance times: Doors open at 6:30, show at 7pm. Approximate running time 75 minutes, no intermission.
Location: Free Street's Storyfront in Back of the Yards ( 4346 S. Ashland Ave )
For tickets: www.freestreet.org
Accessibility info: wheelchair accessible, co-programming for children and closed captioning on June 21st.
—From a press release