Ariel Luckey is trying to remember what we all seem to forget: where we really come from. With his new stage play Amnesia, he tells the story of a young man who retraces his family's migration from a small village in Eastern Europe through New York's Lower East Side to Phoenix, Arizona, only to find that the violence his family fled cannot be so easily forgotten.
We spoke with Ariel as he prepared for the premiere of the show at La Peña Cultural Center:
You are getting ready for your Bay Area premeire this weekend, hows it going? Any new discoveries?
Everything is really coming together. It's an incredible process to watch the ideas and creative vision that we developed along the way begin to manifest in full form. The set, the music, the lights, working at La Peña, the play is being born right before our eyes.
At the end of rehearsal last week Lila Sklar, our phenomenal Composer/Musical Director, asked a hard question about a scene that wasn't quite working. An hour and a half later, after a rigorous discussion with our brilliant Director Susannah Martin, I decided to completely rewrite it and now it feels great. We're making discoveries all the time as the play reinvents itself each night.
Who do you hope is in your audience?
I hope that everyone comes out to see Amnesia. I'd love to see students, folks in the Latino and Jewish communities who I think will have a particular connection to the story, and really anyone who cares about national immigration policy, family history, racial justice.
What is something you really hope people take away from the show?
The most essential message in Amnesia is that we are all connected. There is no other. What's happening to people on the other side of whatever border we have constructed is also happening to us, has happened to us, will happen to us. It's about recognizing, or remembering if you will, our connections and then the question becomes: what are we going to do? If a parent is being torn away from their children, locked up and deported because of some contested paperwork, what is our response?
Anything else you want us to know?
It's going to be a fun show. We travel through 3 centuries, across 2 continents and up and down 1 extensive family tree rocking hip hop and dubstep remixes of Klezmer and Mexican folk music. I hope to see you there!
Watch Ariel Luckey in "Inside Amnesia". "Inside" is a series that takes you inside the creative process. It is a space where artists tell us, in their own words, what they do and why they make what they make.
See Amnesia, a new play about race and immigration, Thursday May 15th through Saturday May 17th at 8pm and Sunday May 18th, 7pm. at the La Peña Cultural Center
Photo of Ariel Luckey by Nico Cabrera