The Imaginary Life of the Street Sweeper August G. opens April 20th and runs through May13th (12 performances only), Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 5 pm. Casa 0101 is located at 2102 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033, in Boyle Heights. Tickets are $20.00 general admission and $17.00 Students and Seniors with I.D., and $15 for Boyle Heights residents with ID. For ticket reservations and group discounts call 323-263-7684 or reserve online at www.Casa0101.org.
The Imaginary Life of the Street Sweeper August G. by famed French author Armand Gatti is a socially-conscious piece that will draw audiences to Downtown LA, as well as engender dialogue between the diverse communities in this dynamic and rapidly-changing area.
This powerful work is sure to contribute to the way audiences perceive the old center of Downtown. It is befitting that this play (about a garbage man on the cusp of poverty and with dreams of a grand world) will be staged in a neighborhood that is itself undergoing a transformation from skid row to the cultural heartbeat of Los Angeles.
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Armand Gatti’s life reads a bit like a novel. Born on the side of the road as his parents were fleeing Mussolini’s Italy in 1924, he grew up an immigrant in Monaco while his father worked as janitor for the casinos and his mother a cleaning lady for the wealthy.
As World War 2 erupts the 17 year old Gatti joins the French resistance. He is apprehended in the forest in Correze by the French police and turned over the Gestapo. He is then sent to the Mauthausen Concentration camp, but manages to escape. He followed the railroad tracks back to France and eventually made his way to London and joined the Free French Forces and participated in the liberation of France as a parachutist.
Post war, he becomes a journalist, winning the Prix Albert Londres in 1954, the highest journalistic prize in France. A few years later he begins to turn his attention to filmmaking, with “L’ Enclos,” a film about the concentration camps, which win prizes at the Cannes and Moscow film festival. However after his next film El Otro Cristobal, he is shunned by the movie industry being deemed too surrealistic and expensive. However, his career as a playwright begins to blossom in a burgeoning Paris theater environment. His plays, August G., Public Song before Two Electric Chairs, V for Vietnam, The Passion of General Franco, amongst many are acclaimed and give voice to ideas and restlessness that lead up to May 1968 in Paris.
His play about Franco is banned from a National theater in Paris, the first time this has happened since the French revolution, as the French Government was attempting improve ties with its southern neighbor.
At that point, Gatti realizes that traditional theater will not have the type societal effect he hopes. His theater gradually begins to evolve, and he begins working with non-actors and disenfranchised populations such as factory workers, refugees, prison populations and in conflict zones, such as Northern Ireland where he writes plays and a movie with Protestants and Catholics.
Gatti’s theater has become a process of giving language and words to those who have been marginalized by society. And today at 88 years old he continues to write plays and work with groups creating plays that draw from the real lived experience of the participants.
Armand Gatti’s play is a surreal journey into the subconscious memory of a man’s life, the recounted struggle of a Street Sweeper. How can a garbage man whose destiny is to be forgotten by the side of the road ever fulfill his dream of making the world more grand? Featuring a 30 member cast, live music and video screen depicting memories as the character inhabiting August G.’s life all come together for one last fateful rendez-vous in a fantastic dance marathon. Audience members are sure to come away questioning what is real, imaginary, and of our own control in the path of destiny we all must tread. Written in 1961 and first performed in 1962 at the Theatre de la Cite in Villeurbanne, (near Lyon), starring Jean Bouise, and directed by Jacques Rosner. The play went on to be performed at the Berlin Theater Festival and the prestigious Theatre de l’Odeon in Paris. The play was subsequently produced in Liverpool in 1966 and Milan in 1969.