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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Queer boys of color coming of age in new play Space Age
From a press release
2016-06-06

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Ricardo Gamboa bounces between his native Chicago and New York City, where he creates performance and media that gets him awards or in trouble and pursues his doctorate degree at NYU, respectively. Sean James William Parris moved to Chicago from Atlanta to attend DePaul University, received his MFA in Acting, and since then he appears on the city's venerated stages while working to survive through side hustles as a gym customer service rep and non-profit office manager.

The two fell in love in Winter 2015 when social media and bourbon on the rocks brought them together. But way before all this they were just two queer-of-color children trying to survive in marginalized communities and in a world where white supremacy and homophobia would rather eradicate them. Late-night conversations about the childhoods with which they still wrestle and journeys toward coming out that preceded their coming together formed the impetus to collaborate on SPACE AGE.

As part of its IN/HOUSE series, Free Street Theater ( FST ) presents the world premiere of Space Age by Ricardo Gamboa and Sean Parris. A journalist once asked James Baldwin if being poor, black, and gay had made him feel disadvantaged as a young writer. "No," Baldwin replied, "I thought I had hit the jackpot. It was so outrageous, you had to find a way to use it." In Space Age, a two-man show, real-life intimate partners Ricardo Gamboa and Sean James William Parris explore how they came to understand and harness their queerness as gay Black and Brown boys growing up in marginalized communities where there were no models for it and no promise that "it gets better."

Two boys, one bathtub, explosive, highly physical re-performances of pop cultural influences and scenes of communion between two lovers to celebrate queer imagination and intimacy make up this play about resilience, love, and hope.

Where: Free Street Theater, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., 3rd Floor

When: July 11, 18, 25, and August 1 at 7:00pm

How much: As always, tickets are Pay-What-You-Can!

For more information visit www.freestreet.org

About the artists:

Ricardo Gamboa is an artist, activist and academic working in his native Chicago and New York City. In Chicago, Gamboa was Founder and Artistic Director of Teatro Americano, Company Member of Barrel of Monkeys, and has worked with the city's most notable directors. He was recipient of a MacArthur Foundation International Connections Award with Teatro Americano and of a City of Chicago CAAP grant. Still working in Chicago, Gamboa is the founding director of the controversial and audience and critically acclaimed radical youth ensemble The Young Fugitives, an Artist-in-Residence at Free Street Theater, cultural commentator for local radio stations, and director and performer with the Latino political comedic ensemble Southside Ignoramus Quartet ( SIQ ). His first feature film, Maydays, premiered this past year at the Chicago Latino Film Festival to sold-out audiences. His play, The Real LIfe Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas, was winner of the Latino ImPACT Playwriting Award and premiered in Summer 2015, touring Chicago and drawing over 300 audience members to a single performance in some instances.

In New York City, he was a fellow with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics EmergeNYC program, launched his Border Jump-Off Short Film Series, is a Company Member of the award-winning New York Neo-Futurists, and performs at a range of independent and institutional venues. He received his M.A. Arts Politics from New York University ( NYU ) Tisch School of the Arts where he continues to develop performance and media work with the guidance of Karen Finley. He is recipient of several acting, directing, playwriting, and filmmaking awards. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in American Studies at the NYU's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis studying arts activism in Chicago. He has worked with over 5,000 young people in the United States and Latin America.

Sean James William Parris was born in L.A., raised in Miami and Georgia, with parents from Barbados and a stepfather from Ohio. He currently lives in Chicago, in Pilsen, with boyfriend and SPAGE AGE co-creator Ricardo Gamboa. This is his first original production to get a world premiere. Sean received his MFA from Depaul University's Theatre School, is a graduate of Black Box Acting Academy, and artist-in-residence at Free Street Theater, and staff writer for the podcast PleasureTown in Chicago.

He was recently seen in Steppenwolf's Compass and additional Chicago credits include: The Solid Sand Below ( Goodman Theatre ); The Drunken City, Animal Farm, Compass ( Steppenwolf ); The Whipping Man ( Northlight Theatre ); Seascape ( Remy Bumppo ); Pornography ( Steep Theatre ); A Midsummer Night's Dream and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits ( Chicago Shakespeare Theatre ); A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes ( Pinebox Theatre ). He will next be seen in the OpenTV's original web series BRUJOS. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Founded in 1969, Free Street Theater creates performance by, for, and with a wide-range of participants. Free Street Theater uses theater to ask questions, prompt dialogue, and build community. As one of the first racially-integrated theater companies in Chicago, Free Street has a long history of creating work that addresses pressing social issues from diverse points of view. Free Street's work includes a Youth Conservatory; a Multi-Generational Collective; an Incubator Program for artists developing new performances; Free Workshops, and Community Residencies to help groups and organizations use theatre to amplify their work. For more information, visit www.freestreet.org .


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