Arts and Entertainment

'Fandango for Butterflies' by En Garde Arts evokes empathetic tales

Production based on interviews with Latinx immigrants on Eisenhower stage Sept. 30

En Garde Arts’ “Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)” features real-life accounts from undocumented Latinx immigrants. In the live stage production, the actors recount the memories of loved ones, harrowing journeys and stressed thoughts of a real group of immigrants. Credit: Maria BaranovaAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for the Performing Arts opens its doors, and minds, with the presentation of En Garde Arts’ “Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes),” an immersive collection of stories that crosses borders. The live in-person event will start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

For more information about the event and a free community fandango, and to purchase tickets, visit Center for the Performing Arts online.

This presentation is part of “The Reflection Project,” funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)” — penned by Andrea Thome, directed by José Zayas and with music by Sinuhé Padilla — is inspired by interviews with undocumented Latinx immigrants. The En Garde Arts production takes the form of a fandango, a community celebration in which stories are brought to life through music and dance. The actors recount the memories of loved ones, harrowing journeys and stressed thoughts of a real group of immigrants gathered in an undisclosed community center while ICE conducts raids throughout New York City. As their fear grows, this group of strangers becomes a family.

“Grounded in the values of empathy, community and resistance to oppression and dehumanization, ‘Fandango for Butterflies’ feelingly expresses both the joy and heartache that infuse its characters' experiences,” wrote a reporter for It’s “a production that reaches beyond the stage.”

“Fandango” playwright Thome said that to emigrate is an act of blind courage and faith.

“You leave your home, almost everything and everyone you know and love, and the person you were in order to move down an uncertain (and often dangerous) path,” she said. “You must picture yourself in this imagined place, living an imagined existence. How will you move through that world? How will people treat you? How will you reinvent yourself, or can you?”

Watch playwright Andrea Thome discuss her own family story of emigration in an episode of “Uncommon Voices.” Credit: All Arts TV

“Artistic Viewpoints,” an informal moderated discussion featuring Anne Hamburger, En Garde Arts founder and artistic director, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. “Artistic Viewpoints” regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Free community fandango

The cast and creative team of “Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)” will lead a traditional community celebration, free and open to the public. The En Garde Arts professionals will guide participants through the steps of the Zapateado, a lively and percussive narrative dance style typically performed during Mexican fandangos. The "fandango de la comunidad" will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, on S. Fraser Street between Calder Way and Beaver Avenue.

The Debra Lee Latta and Dr. Stanley E. Latta Endowment provides support for the Community Fandango.

Visit fall 2021 for more information about the season events. 

Safety first

The Center for the Performing Arts has the health and safety of our patrons in mind. Penn State requires that masks be worn in all University buildings and emphasizes its commitment to cleaning and ventilating its spaces. In addition, the center will work to ensure the safety of its patrons by positioning contactless ticketing kiosks and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the venues. Visit "COVID Precautions" for more information on the center’s safety protocols.

Penn State has issued rules and precautions that follow, or in some cases exceed, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit "Penn State Event Attendance Policies" prior to attending a University event to ensure familiarity with the rules and expectations.

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Last Updated September 15, 2021