El Payaso

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El Payaso

The light he lit will shine forever.
Written by Emilio Rodriguez
& Directed by Georgina Escobar
Touring February - November 2017

This project is part of the Latina/o Theatre Commons El Fuego Initiative.

El Payaso Study Guide

About the Play

Amidst chaos, confusion and war, an American engineer worked to bring electricity to rural villages in Nicaragua. El Payaso invites the audience to learn the story of an incredible man and the extraordinary people with whom he unexpectedly connected. Our tale is told through the eyes of Elías, a Latino college student, traveling to Nicaragua thirty years later, to encounter the people who are still carrying on the work of the late Ben Linder. An engineer and a clown for a cause, Linder participated in rallies and health campaigns that brought vaccines to children. His memory lives on in the work of Clowns without Borders and various environmental groups that are collaborating to bring this story to life. With red noses and humor, the performers will share the value of “thinking globally, while acting locally."

In 1987 Ben Linder was killed by Contras in Nicaragua, during a war that was fueled by the Regan administration of the United States. For the 30th anniversary of Ben’s passing, this play will share with a new generation, an inspirational story of one idealist who saw the potential of art and science to help save the world, one small village at a time.

El Payaso community partners include: Clowns without Borders, Verde, the Ben Linder Scholarship Fund, the Intertwine Alliance, and Friends of Trees. Performances will be paired with environmental workshops and residencies, using Milagro’s UNIDAD curriculum to share with a new generation the awareness and importance of sustainability. The performers are also the teaching artists, who will bring the play and workshops to schools across the country. Ajai Terrazas Tripathi leads the group, in his 7th season with Milagro and is joined by Marlon Jiménez Oviedo from Costa Rica, Emile Dultra from Brazil and Danielle Pecoff from Idaho.

Today, environmental issues affect all Americans, and Latinos, the largest minority population, must be invited to the table to participate so that their voices can be heard and their participation embraced. For more information about El Payaso and UNIDAD, contact Artistic Director, Dañel Malan at 503-236-7253 *125 or by email at malan@milagro.org.

American/Sandinista from Jason Blalock on Vimeo.


Emilio Rodriguez and his work have been a part of various festivals including the inaugural 2015 Latino Theatre Common’s Carnaval of New Works (Swimming While Drowning), the inaugural Activate Midwest Festival at Western Michigan University (Spin), and the Austin Latino New Play Festival (Mamacita and the Negrito). Emilio was selected for a residency with the prestigious Djerassi Artist Residency Program and the recently founded Mitten Lab in Traverse City, Michigan. Additionally, Emilio was a 2015 finalist for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Excellence in Playwriting Award and 2016 Finalist for the Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellowship.


Georgina H. Escobar is multi-platform artist and Ciudad Juarez, México native currently living in Manhattan via Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Ocean Beach, El Paso, TX, Albuquerque, NM and Waterford, CT. She is the President and Co-Founder of a three-tiered production company, which includes; Fourth Wall Productions, specializing in creative artistic campaigns, One Blue Cat Productions, a multi-platform, artist-based branch specializing in producing impossible productions, and GrettleGrott Ink, an entertainment consulting company. In 2004 at the height of the genocide in Ciudad Juarez, Escobar co-produced a bilingual/bi-cultural double production of The Vagina Monologues: Spotlight on the Women of Juarez in El Paso/Juarez: starring Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Lila Aragon; benefiting Casa Amiga of Juarez, for which she was awarded, “Outstanding Service to Women on The Border.”

Georgina Escobar’s playwriting credits include: SWEEP (Aurora Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab 2016), The Unbearable Likeness of JONES (Dixon Place), WAYFOOT (originated at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, 2014), THE RUIN (Words Afire, 2011) FIREROCK: PASS THE SPARK (Lensic, 2012). She is the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s National Theatre For Young Audiences Award for ASH TREE (Duke City Repertory, ASSITEJ Festival). Directing Credits include: EL MUERTO VAGABUNDO (Milagro Theatre) MUSINGS (Music Director, Waterville ME) JONES (Dixon Place, NYC), ASSASINS (Assistant Director, Lark, NYC), ASH TREE (Duke City Rep, NM). She is the founder of Fourth Wall/One Blue Cat Productions and Steering Committee Member for the Latina/o Theatre Commons. www.georginaescobar.com


February 1, 2017
December 31, 2017
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