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a farm for meme is a virtual story project chronicling the destruction of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, California – one of the largest urban farms in the United States, a communal garden of 14 acres, built in a vacant lot in an industrial part of South Los Angeles in the wake of the 1992 LA Rebellion. The farm became the center of controversy when the city sold the land to developer Ralph Horowitz who eventually evicted the farmers from their garden. The farmers disputed the validity of the sale in court and staged a series of protests, including an encampment at the farm.
Directed by Elena Araoz, performed by Marlene Beltran in both English and Spanish, a farm for meme takes analogue, handmade, DIY ways of making art and transfers them to a digital platform. The organic landscape blossoms on screen through puppetry performed by Maceo Edwards, Katharine Matthias, Minjae Kim, and BT Hayes, creating gardens out of construction paper, measuring tape, string lights and shadows. With an emphasis on exploration, play and process, the ensemble worked to discover and illuminate theatrically through a computer screen.
Produced by allgo, Cara Mía Theatre and a todo dar productions with support from the South Central Farm Campaign and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance, a research project housed at Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.
Writer: Virginia Grise
Director: Elena Araoz
Performers: Marlene Beltran with Maceo Edwards, Katharine Matthias, Minjae Kim, and BT Hayes
Technical Direction: James Ruth
Sound Design and Original Composition: Nathan Leigh
Stage Management: Milan Eldridge
Producer: Megan E. Carter
Video Excerpts from Aqui Estamos Y No Nos Vamos! by Claudia Mercado
Song: “El Jardin De Meme”
Lyrics and Music by Sandino Gonzalez-Flores
a farm for meme was created with the support of the Mellon Foundation’s National Playwright Residency Program administered in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons, the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.