“Sanctuary City” Brings A Timeless Journey To Hartford Audiences

Belen Dumont, CT Latino News


HARTFORD—A “cinematic” and “immersive” experience awaits audiences at TheaterWorks Hartford this spring. OBIE Award-winning play Sanctuary Citypremieres on Thursday, March 28, in partnership with Long Wharf Theatre based in New Haven.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok, Sanctuary City follows two young DREAMers—known as “B” and “G”—three months after the attacks of 9/11, as they continue to strive for the American dream in this post-9/11 reality.

About 3.6 million DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, are living in the country. The majority of these individuals are not protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which temporarily shields about 580,000 DREAMers from deportation and gives them work authorization. 

“We understood the backdrop of 9/11 was really important,” shared Co-Director and Filmmaker Pedro Bermúdez. “What does it mean that this event has changed the world [and] now has also created conditions for immigrants…in the country, where they realize whatever safety or security they were hoping to seek in this country [will] no longer exist.”

In their first collaboration, theatermaker Jacob G. Padrón and Bermúdez come together to co-direct this coming-of-age performance about migration, love, and impossible decisions. 

“I think the merging or blending of film and theater [has] been an ongoing development and process…” said Bermúdez. 

The first half of the play has a montage-type structure that reflects a series of memories from B’s point of view. To amplify this unique sequence, there is “a live feed component, where two live cameras will cut to particular moments in the story,” explained Bermúdez.

Another strategy to engage audiences was to remove the first row of seats so the stage could extend further into the audience. “We were trying to have our design and approach [lead to] a play that feels really immersive for audience members,” said Bermúdez. 

In 2021, Sanctuary City was declared a New York Times Critic’s Pick for the performance’s in-depth depiction of the complex challenges, decisions, and sacrifices two undocumented teenagers have to persevere through at such young ages. 

“In terms of understanding the more broad Latino community, this is the story of our time,” said Bermúdez. “We’ve seen just how divisive this issue is in our national and local politics. So, I’m really grateful to be telling this story together with Jacob and our amazing cast and crew.”

Starring Sara Gutierrez as “G”, Edward Montoya as “B”, and Mishka Yarovoy as “Henry”—who are all making their TheaterWorks Hartford debut—the performance runs until April 25, 2024. 

“I can’t wait to see how the timely questions that Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok poses in her breathtaking play resonates with audiences,” commented Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero. 

Learn more about the performance and purchase tickets online at twhartford.org or by calling 860.527.7838. The show runs for 100 minutes with no intermission.

Publisher’s Notes: CT Latino News is proud to partner with TheaterWorks Hartford in supporting the state’s Arts and Culture.

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