AS/COA staff participating in the Ophelia performance. (Michael Palma Mir Photography)

AS/COA staff participating in the Ophelia performance. (Michael Palma Mir Photography)


Americas Society Staff Participates in Ophelia Performance

The Shakespeare-inspired art performance about women’s struggles and resistance was hosted at Americas Society.

On October 5, Americas Society hosted an art performance of Ophelia that featured staff members from within the organization. The show, by Brazilian artists Ana Mazzei and Regina Parra, is based on a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and speaks to women’s struggles and resistance.

In the performance, nine Americas Society staff members carried signs with quotes from the character Ophelia to emphasize links between the predicaments she faces in the play and the contemporary situation of women. “What made this performance special was working with something still so powerful after 300 plus years,” said Carla Lucini, assistant curator of public programs at Americas Society.

The staff members who partook in the performance rehearsed with the artists in the days leading up the performance. They were instructed on their walks, facial expressions, and how to hold the signs. In an interview, the artists described the performance as "Panela de pressão a ponto de explodir [A pressure cooker about to explode]," a sentiment that the participants attempted to capture through their body language. “After the performance, I felt empowered,” said Pía Fuentealba, chief of staff at Americas Society and a participant in Ophelia.

While it was novel for staff members to participate directly in the program, Ophelia continued Americas Society’s pioneering arts tradition. “Americas Society’s Visual Arts department was known for hosting art performances, even during a time when it was a new thing in the art world,” said Fuentealba. Part of the department’s mission also includes increasing the representation of Latin American female artists, such as Mazzei and Parra.