The Jacobs-Jenkins/Tropicana Project
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright whose works address issues such as identity, family, class, and race.Artist Bio
Carmelita Tropicana has been performing in New York’s downtown arts scene since the 1980s, straddling the worlds of performance art and theater in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.Artist Bio
A My Dinner With Andre-style debate with compare-and-contrast performances delivered throughout, The Jacobs-Jenkins/Tropicana Project touches on how art relates to history and history relates to art, updating it through the artists’ personal histories and experiences. While the two artists share a number of aesthetic and thematic concerns—identity, belonging, the nature of history and storytelling—the work that they make and the context in which they make it could not be more different. Since the 1980s, Carmelita has worked on the fringes of a “mainstream,” which has very little room for queer artists of color, whereas Branden, whose works have appeared at The Public Theater, has directly profited from funding structures geared towards the encouragement of “minority” voices, something virtually unheard of 25 years ago.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright who is leading the way forward on important discussions around class, race and history. Inspired by the history of theater, Jacobs-Jenkins writes plays that often use a historical lens to critique contemporary culture. As a playwright, Jacobs-Jenkins is unafraid to make his audience feel uncomfortable, both through confrontation, unconventional techniques and in his honest portrayal of race in the US.
Jacobs-Jenkins’ playwright credits include Gloria, Appropriate, Neighbors, An Octoroon, and War. His plays have toured the world, and he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2016 for his work.
New York, NY
Carmelita Tropicana has been performing in New York’s downtown arts scene since the 1980s, straddling the worlds of performance art and theater in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe with her irreverent humor, subversive fantasy and bilingual puns. She received an Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance and is a recipient of the Performance and Activism Award from the Women in Theater Program/American Theater in Higher Education. Notable and recent works include: Schwanze-Beast, a performance commissioned by Vermont Performance Lab; Recycling Atlantis, a performance installation at 80WSE Gallery; Post Plastica, an installation/video and performance presented at El Museo del Barrio; and the highly anthologized Milk of Amnesia. Her publications include the book, co-edited with Holly Hughes, Memories of the Revolution: The First Ten Years of the WOW Café. Tropicana has taught at numerous universities and sits on the Board of Directors at Performance Space 122 and NYFA.