Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
My name is Marina Zurita and I’m a theater director and maker born in São Paulo Brazil, and currently based in New York City. I like to think of theatre as a powerful gap between translations – home for lost voices and interpretations. I’m a Directing fellow at Et Alia Theater Company (NYC) and at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, as well as a resident artist at the Lab at APE (MA) and at the Target Margin Theater (NYC).
As a director, I like to think of plays as slices of time ready to be stretched and prolonged by curiosity, until the obsolete is unraveled into something worthy of an audience. I strive to tell stories that invite us to become foreigners in our own languages. Stories that allow us to rediscover ourselves in the things we have ceased to see or pay attention to.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I gravitate towards stories that center the people at the frontline of the clima crisis. My main research topic as an artist is the work and life reality of waste pickers – commonly known in the US as informal garbage collectors who pick and sell recyclable materials as a way of living. This research let me to develop two original plays based on interviews with Brazilian waste pickers, titled Mother Tongue and Riven.
Beyond the stories that I create, I believe one thing that sets me a part is my capacity to make space for my collaborators while also driving the work forward. I believe in processes that take care of people, and it is my goal as a director to allow spaces where healing can take place.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
In 2021 I was awarded a grant by the Semans Art Fund to travel for two months in Brazil and conduct interviews with Brazilian waste pickers. My interview process culminated in over 300 pages filled with stories about the lives of people who work endlessly to clean our world from our discards. These stories often go untold, and to be face to face with them meant the world to m, reveling to me the people who I want to continuously serve in my work.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
As an immigrant artist living in the US my constant challenge is my visa status. Applying for visas means having to prove my worth to the immigration department, which is exhausting and it can jeopardize my work and my artistry.
However, doing so also pushes me to always do more and be better at what I do. My position as an immigrant artist makes me work hard and achieve things that I always thought I was too young for, such as being the associate Director at an off Broadway show and a fellow at the Kennedy Center in Washignton DC.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
The directors Simon Stone, Christiane Jatahy, and Bia Lessa – for the boldness in their work, their originality, and strong sense of aesthetic. I love how all three of them are capable of reimagining myths and stories of the past into our present. Their work is relevant and beautiful, and their characters both banal and complex.
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