The River, By Richard Montoya

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The River, By Richard Montoya

1117 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
April 11th, 2013 - May 4th, 2013
Opening: April 11th, 2013 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Union Square/Civic Center
installed-sculpture, media arts, theater, Set Design, desert, California, photography, mixed-media, installation, video-art, performance, conceptual, landscape, surrealism


World Premiere of THE RIVER, Written by Richard Montoya

For Immediate Release

Irene Faye Duller, Communications Manager

Intersection for the Arts and Campo Santo present


The world premiere of a new play by Richard Montoya, acclaimed playwright and Culture Clash Co-founder.  Co-created and directed by Sean San José, Campo Santo Co-Founder.


April 11 through May 04, 2013
Thursdays through Sundays, 8pm


A.C.T. Costume Shop
1117 Mission Street @7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Tickets: $25 – $30 in advance – $35 day of performance |
Information: | 415-626-2787 x 109

Featuring: Nora el Samahy*, Donald E. Lacy, Jr, Anna Maria Luera*, Randy Nakano*, Brian Rivera*, Michael Torres*, Lakin Valdez & Christopher White

Design and Production Team: Alejandro Acosta, Ben Fisher, Courtney Flores, Katie Forbes, Britney Frazier, Florentino Gonzales, Pak Han & Tanya Orellana

Visual Installation: Ana Teresa Fernandez and Visual Design: Joan Osato

Original Music: Charlie Gurke, performed live by Steve Boss

San Francisco, CA – March 14, 2013– Intersection for the Arts and resident theatre company Campo Santo present the World Premiere of The River, a new play co-created by accomplished playwright Richard Montoya, co-founder of political performance trio Culture Clash, and Sean San José, co-founder of esteemed multicultural theatre company Campo Santo. The piece is part of Montoya’s larger series, “The Border Series,” that explores themes of identity, California and its people, and the many types of borders they encounter and cross.

The River unites Montoya and San José, two of California’s most renowned and prolific artists, to tell a homeland tale that reflects their experiences and the experiences of the people who make up their families, their communities. The story’s geographic reflection ties our state together through the journeys that make us all connected. Through their very personal lenses, Montoya and San José create a tale of beautifully fraught tension that reflects how socially, culturally, and economically diverse we are as the people of California.

The River carries us along its trail through the personal stories of California’s diverse citizens: “undocumented”, hipsters, immigrants, families, outcasts, desperados.  The New River, a toxic waterway that winds by the towns along the border connecting southeast California and Mexico, forms the backdrop for intertwined stories.  These stories of diverse cultures morphing, land monopolies, the Mexican Diaspora, the American Dream, a way station, a landing point, a current wasteland and a former oasis – form themes that inform our view of life in all of our cities.  Through his unique gift for telling stories that combine sadness and humor, Montoya invites us to laugh as we consider our hedonism and longings rooted in our sense of loss.  The River is a wild, fun, ecstatic trip; a vision quest that slips easily and often across the border between mourning and hilarity.

The River is representative of Intersection for the Arts’ and Campo Santo’s massively collaborative approach to new theatre-making.  In addition to being an integral piece of Montoya’s Border Series, The River employs the exploratory and expositive methods characteristic of projects created by the Triangle Lab, a joint endeavor of Intersection for the Arts and the California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes).  In addition to being part of Montoya’s Border Series, the co-creation nestles under the umbrella of the Triangle Lab’s Califas project, a 2013 series of community encounters to gather, share, and perform the stories we tell about our journeys home.  Cal Shakes’ season opening production of Montoya’s American Night, the next piece presented under the Califas project, continues the stories of Californians with The River director San José and cast member Brian Rivera in leading roles.  Other 2013 Califas projects present art created in collaboration with community arts organizations throughout the state and along Highway 99, a trade route through the roadside towns that lie between California’s border and its northern cities.


The production continues Intersection and Campo Santo’s joint exploration of creative placemaking in their Central Market Street San Francisco neighborhood. As leading collaborators on the 5M Project and inaugural recipients of an ArtPlace America Award, Intersection pioneers the role of performance in celebrating and cultivating community. Over the next several years, productions will be presented at the 5M Project, in vacant and underutilized spaces around the 5M neighborhood, in CyberSpace, and in partnership with community and arts organizations.


For The River, Intersection for the Arts and Campo Santo partnered with the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Costume Shop to present The River in an intimate setting in San Francisco’s resurgent Central Market neighborhood.  The production at the A.C.T. Costume Shop brings Montoya and San José’s California to life through designs by featured installation artist Ana Teresa Fernandez and the visual imagery of photographer Joan Osato, who received Zellerbach Family Foundation support to create The River’s corollary visual project.   Led by Tanya Orellana and Alejandro Acosta, the distinguished design and production team includes Ben Fisher, Courtney Flores, Britney Frazier, Florentino Gonzales, and Pak Han.  Rounded out by original music composed by Charlie Gurke and performed live by Steve Boss, the entire production entices us to envision ourselves inside the stories of our diverse state.

Cast members include veteran actors Nora el Samahy, Donald E. Lacy, Jr, Anna Maria Luera*, Randy Nakano*, Brian Rivera*, Michael Torres*, Lakin Valdez & Christopher White


The show runs from April 11 to May 4: Thursdays thru Sundays, 8pm at the A.C.T Costume Shop, an intimate Central Market performance space. Seating is limited and tickets to are expected to sell out, early online purchase is highly recommended.

The commissioning and production of this world premiere is made possible by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation Playwright Collaboration Awards 2009 initiative.



Established in 1965, Intersection is a pioneering arts and community development organization that brings people together across boundaries to instigate break-through change. Intersection’s programs emphasize relationships, collaboration, and process. Intersection works with hundreds of artists through residencies, commissions, fellowships, fiscal sponsorship and incubation, performances, exhibitions, workshops and public art projects. Annually, Intersection works with more than 50 community partners across sector and field.  Intersection is a lead collaborator on the 5M Project, a 4-acre multi-phase, mixed-use development project located in downtown San Francisco. With The 5M Project, Intersection is helping to prototype the next generation of urban development that embraces diversity of thought, life experience, and culture as essential to positive economic and social change in our neighborhoods. 5MPlaceWorks, a collaboration led by Intersection for the Arts, brings the 5M Project and Central Market neighbors together with artists, makers, entrepreneurs, social change agents, and technology innovators to collaboratively develop a new kind of place that unlocks resources, connection, and creativity across silos and disciplines.



Campo Santo is an award-winning multi-cultural ensemble founded in 1996 and in residence at Intersection for the Arts since 1997.  Campo Santo develops and premieres new theatre plays and other performance pieces, cultivates playwrights, fiction writers and poets, and engages diverse new audiences for the performing arts.  True to its Spanish name, Campo Santo (Sacred Ground) presents works rooted in using the sacred form of storytelling to create theatrical experiences that bond communities.  Through interactive development of socially relevant plays, Campo Santo continually creates intimate new places, new ground where artists and audiences come together, reflect the worlds they come from, and together reinvent the world in which we live.  Under the leadership of Co-Founder Sean San José, Campo Santo has developed more than 45 world premiere plays with a broad community of writers that includes luminaries Richard Montoya, Junot Diaz, Philip Kan Gotanda, Jessica Hagedorn, Naomi Iizuka, Denis Johnson, Octavio Solis and a host of other flourishing artists.   Playwrights Sharif Abu-Hamdeh, Chinaka Hodge and Dennis Kim are among the burgeoning community of emerging artists with whom Campo Santo has worked to develop first productions.  In 2012, Campo Santo re-imagined performance space through its performances with Epiphany Productions at San Francisco Trolley Dances, and by presenting an entirely mobile performance through its Mobile Bus Street Art Performance Tour.  Upcoming works continue the ensemble’s trajectory of presenting new voices in surprising places and include new plays by Hodge and Luis Alfaro.

Richard Montoya (Writer, Co-Creator) is a playwright, actor, producer, arts and culture consultant and advocate. He Co-founded Culture Clash in 1984 in San Francisco’s Mission district and developed it into, the nation’s leading Chicano/Latino theater company. Now based in Los Angeles, Culture Clash uses “performance collage” to bring history, geography, “urban excavation,” “forensic poetry” and storytelling together in a contemporary, movable theater narrative through a Chicano point of view – what Guillermo Gomez-Pena describes as “reverse anthropology.”  Montoya has been the lead or sole playwright of acclaimed Culture Clash productions- including: Chavez Ravine, Water and Power, andPalestine, New Mexico.  His play, American NightThe Ballad of Juan José, premiered at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has been produced at many regional theaters including La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Denver Center Theatre, and Yale Repertory, and is slated to open California Shakespeare Theater’s 2013 season.  Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza) work has been produced by the Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Berkeley Repertory, The Huntington, The Alley Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory, The Goodman, and other leading regional and national theaters.  Accomplished performers as well, Culture Clash’s theatrical work includes: The Mission, A Bowl of Beings, S.O.S.-Comedy for These Urgent Times, Unplugged, Capra Clash, Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami, Bordertown, The Birds, Nuyorican Stories, Anthology, Mission Magic Mystery Tour, Anthems: Culture Clash in the District, Chavez Ravine, Senor Discretion Himself, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, Zorro in Hell, Water and Power and Palestine, New Mexico.

Sean San José is a Director, Writer, Performer and Co-Founder of Campo Santo, Intersection for the Arts resident theatre company.  Campo Santo is a multicultural theatre company that gives voice to untold stories through socially relevant world premieres of plays created in long-term processes. Since 1996, he has produced and overseen more than 75 premiere productions of theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performances. San José’s body of work spans 45 premiere theatre productions including the first plays by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jorge Cortinas, Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, Denis Johnson, Greg Sarris, Luis Saguar, and Vendela Vida.  Campo Santo and San José  have developed multiple works by Philip Gotanda, Jessica Hagedorn, Naomi Iizuka, Octavio Solis, John Steppling, Erin Cressida Wilson, and others. He was the Creator and Project Director of Alma Delfina Group- Teatro Contra el SIDA (1994-2002) and Pieces of the Quilt-a collection of more than 50 short plays including original works by Rhodessa Jones, Danny Hoch, Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Maria Irene Fornes, David Henry Hwang, Craig Lucas, Tony Kushner, Herbert Siguenza, Migdalia Cruz and many more confronting AIDS.  San José is a recipient of a 2010 Gerbode Award New Play Collaborations with Richard Montoya for The River.

Joan Osato (Visual Designer- Outreach, Videography, Photography ) In Ms Osato’s work with the Living Word Project she has served as AD, Stage Manager, Production Manager or Lighting Designer on runs of Repertory works such as Fear of a Brown Planet (The Carlyle Theater, Miami, and Project Artaud, SF), Word Becomes Flesh (ODC Theater, SF and JAAT, L.A.), Scourge, and Regarding Womenpresented at the first National Asian American Theater Festival in New York at the Kirk Theater.  She has independently produced theater in San Francisco including The Cure by Joel Tan and Ginu Kamani, and Begum Sumroo, directed by Vidhu Singh. Director of Asian American Theater Company from 1997-2001, she joined AATC as the production manager for Philip Kan Gotanda’s Sisters Matsumoto at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and saw the project through to World Premiere co-productions with Seattle Rep and San Jose Rep. For her continued service to the Arts in San Francisco, she was awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2007. She is a self-taught photographer, who dedicates most of her professional life to supporting individual artists, the development of their projects, and producing their work for stage. After a 25-year hiatus she picked up a camera again in 2009. Since then she has been considered for prestigious photography awards such as the Prix de la Photographie, and was chosen out of field of over 280 Bay Area artists for the annual juried exhibit, Bay Area Currents 2009. She works exclusively in medium film format, preferring to work with existing light, hand held.

Ana Teresa Fernandez  (Visual Installation Artist) Ana Teresa Fernandez was born and raised in Tampico, Mexico. She received her MFA in 2006 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Fernandez’ work will be exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose, Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico city, and in a series of public art works in downtown San Francisco through Intersection for the Arts. Her work has recently been presented in solo exhibitions at Electric Works Gallery, Luggage Store Gallery and Galeria de la Raza, and group exhibits in the Tijuana Biennial, Snite Museum in Notre Dame University, Sonoma Valley Art Museum, and Oakland Art Museum. Her short documentary works have been publicly displayed in San Francisco as the recipient for the Creative Work Fund. Fernandez will be attending La Fragua Residency in Cordova, Spain in the summer, and has been invited to be part of the Greatmore Art Center Residency program in South Africa, where she created a site-specific permanent public artwork. She has been awarded residencies in Jakmel, Haiti at the Fondation D’Art Jakmel, and in Juarez, Mexico through the LEF Foundation.  Fernandez is the 2007 Tournasol awardee at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and was selected to be part of the Triennial, Bay Area Now 5, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was the recipient for the Neighborhood Public Art Grant Project through the Richmond Art Center as well as the Cultural Equity Grant through the San Francisco’s Arts Commission. She was also chosen for the National Association Latino Art and Culture Award. Ana Teresa’s work on the 5Ws project, a project of Intersection for the Arts’ 5MPlaceWorks initiative, is instantiated as chalkboards and five lighted sculptures of the words Who What When Where and Why installed in locations around the Central Market district of San Francisco.  Ms. Fernandez’ other works have been exhibited in galleries and museums in San Francisco, LA, Chicago and New York, as well as in Haiti, Costa Rica, South Africa and Mexico.