United Nations Hosts Performance by Ithaca College Students for Human Rights Day
ITHACA, NY — At the invitation of María Cristina Perceval, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations, a group of Ithaca College students performed at the U. N. headquarters in New York City on December 10 in recognition of Human Rights Day.
IC Teatro staged “A Propósito de la Duda” (“For the Sake of Doubt”), a play about the search for children who were stolen from their biological families and given to military families during Argentina’s military dictatorship of 1976–83.
The play was produced as part of a Spanish class, “Teatro: From the Page to the Stage,” taught by Annette Levine, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
“It proved to be one of the most amazing experiences we could have hoped for,” said Levine of the U.N. visit. “The 19 students — who were joined by 5 alumni — gave a tremendous performance before an important audience.”
Levine founded IC Teatro in 2006 to help give Ithaca College a Hispanic theater presence. With the creation of the formal course, students have been performing at least one show per semester over the past several years.
“A Propósito de la Duda” was written by Patricia Zangaro and Daniel Fanego and first staged in 2000. It was a product of their desire to use theater to support the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in their search for the 500 grandchildren who were taken from their families during the dictatorship. It is considered one of the foundational plays of the Teatro por la Identidad movement, devoted to raising awareness about human rights abuses in Argentina and uncovering the identities and whereabouts of the disappeared children.
Though the original play is entirely in Spanish, the IC Teatro version was staged in both Spanish and English to make it more accessible to all audiences. The students gave a performance in September at a conference on democracy and dictatorship held at Cornell University that was attended by two of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, as well as Argentina’s ambassador to the U.S., Cecilia Nahón.
“The ambassador and a representative from the Argentine consulate were so taken by the effort of U.S. youth grappling with a history so removed from their personal lives, that they invited us to perform the show once again as part of the official commemoration of Human Rights Day at the United Nations,” said Levine.
A video of the performance can be seen on the United Nations website: