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On April 26, 1937, Hitler’s Condor Legion bombed Gernika, the sacred city of the Basques. Terrified, a mother sends her children to England—but only sees one of them ever again. Picasso paints his anti-war masterpiece Guernica, vowing never to display it in Spain until democracy returns—he dies before this happens. Interweaving fictionalized characters with image, music, videos and historical events from 1937 to 2012, “Picasso Presents Gernika” considers the connections between war, art and human suffering. It had its first staged-reading at Chino Community Theatre in May 2019, and the play continues to resonate powerfully (though unfortunately) with current refugee and human rights crises.
One performance only to support the Santa Monica Playhouse Keep the Doors Open Campaign.
Playwright, Dr. Begoña Echeverria is the daughter of Basque immigrants to southern California. A native Basque speaker with a PhD in sociology, she is a Professor at UC Riverside’s School of Education. Her research on Basque language, culture and identity has been published in academic journals in education, sociolinguistics, anthropology, history and folklore. She is also a singer-songwriter with the Basque-American trio, NOKA (www.ilovenoka.com), which has performed over 60 concerts domestically and internationally. Her historical novel, The Hammer of Witches, loosely based on the 1610 burnings of Basque “witches” from the Baztan Valley in northern Spain from which her family hails, was the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice for May, 2015.
DIrector, Dr. Annika Speer is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production at UC Riverside where she runs the public speaking program. She is the Co-Director of the Public Speaking Initiative, a UC-Wide program based out of UC Santa Barbara that prioritizes interdisciplinary training in speech and rhetoric. In addition to academic work, Speer works as a dramaturgical researcher and script consultant for film, most recently for The Girl on the Train (2016), Men, Women & Children (2014), Walking Stories (2013), and Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013). She has directed plays as fundraisers for Women Help Women, Planned Parenthood, and Pacific Pride Foundation with the mission to generate collaborative, creative, and activist oriented theatre.
Graphic design by Diana Hyatt. Featuring Lillyanna Lopez; Maksil Lorenzo; Bella Merlin; Kai Perillo; Jeff Richards; Blessin Simpson; and Natalia Toher.
The Santa Monica Playhouse Benefit Series is an innovative program that presents extremely limited engagements of new and developing works by emerging and renowned local, national and international artists. Solo shows, concerts, spoken word and poetry nights, dance evenings, performance art and full productions, give voice to new material and artists who might otherwise not have a platform for their works.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required.
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