Alumna Irma Mayorga brings ‘Panza Monologues’ to CSB

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March 12, 2014

Irma Mayorga will have no problem navigating the College of Saint Benedict campus in a few days.

She is, after all, a 1988 graduate of CSB. And, Mayorga was honored with a President's Award from CSB in 2013 as part of the college's centennial celebration.

Mayorga, an assistant professor of theater at Dartmouth College who is also a director, playwright and dramaturge, will be in residence March 17-21 and will present a lecture and book reading at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, in room 204C, Gorecki Dining and Conference Center. A reception follows the lecture.

It is one of several events the CSB and SJU Theater Department is presenting in honor of CSB's centennial.

Mayorga's presentation will feature her book, "The Panza Monologues, Second Edition," and will include video excerpts from "The Panza Monologues," a one-person play, which Mayorga directed for performance and co-wrote with Virginia Grise.

"The Panza Monologues" has been compared to "The Vagina Monologues" as each are a collection of short performances based on interviews and stories of women, according to Ms. Magazine. However, "The Panza Monologues" is about panzas - the Spanish word for belly.

The play focuses on the lives of Latina women, putting the panza "front and center as a symbol that reveals the lurking truths about women's thoughts, lives, loves, abuses and lived conditions," the magazine wrote. It explores the connections between bodies, culture and politics from a Latina feminist perspective.

"Coming back to CSB to converse with my very accomplished peers, share my recent work and help recognize the arts during the CSB centennial year via the theater department is edifying and thrilling," Mayorga said. "Receiving one of the CSB President's Awards this past June was humbling and edifying.

"But now, I have the opportunity to share my work, work with current students and offer my gratitude for the tremendous impact the CSB Theater Department had on my development as a theater artist. Coming back to the BAC is coming home in so many senses," Mayorga said.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Mayorga received a bachelor of arts degree in theater from CSB. Mayorga received a master's in costume design (with an emphasis on set design) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a joint doctorate in drama and the humanities from Stanford University. She holds the distinction of earning the first Ph.D. by a Latina/o in Stanford Drama Department's history.

In addition to her formal presentation, Mayorga will take part in several other events while on campus.

  • A "Panza Power" performance and writing workshop is from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at the Helgeson Dance Studio, Benedicta Arts Center at CSB. This event is designed for young women to focus on a "Panza Positive" body image, for locating one's inner voice and for writing stories from the depths of your tripas - your guts; the core of your being. The workshop is limited to 20 people; please register via email with Leigh Dillard
  • An alumnae panel, "Triptych: Lives in the Theater with Three CSB Alumnae" with Mayorga, Kathy Hendrickson and Amelia Cheever, will talk about their CSB experiences, their professional lives as theater artists and their enduring friendship forged at CSB, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the Gorecki Family Theater, BAC. Hendrickson, a 1987 graduate of CSB, is a guest artist at CSB this semester. Cheever, also a 1987 graduate of CSB, is an adjunct assistant professor of theater at CSB and SJU.
  • "Grounded," a staged reading by CSB alumna Carla Noack ('89), is at 7 p.m. Friday, March 21, in the Colman Theater. "Grounded" is a new play by George Brant about a pilot who is grounded when she becomes pregnant and reassigned to manage drone attacks. Seating is limited; reserve seats by emailing Dillard.