A group of men and women stand with their backs to a man in the center of their circle.

En Garde Arts’ ‘Fandango for Butterflies’ evokes empathetic tales

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

Related engagement event features free community fandango Sept. 28


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.

Tickets—$42 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $32 for a person 18 and younger—are available online. Tickets are also available by phone at 814-863-0255 or in person at Eisenhower Auditorium from noon to 4 p.m Monday through Friday. A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.

Read more about the production and a free community fandango at 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 ThinkingTheaterNYC.com. 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?” — Playwright Andrea Thome

Watch Thome discuss her own family story of emigration in an episode of “Uncommon Voices.”

“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.

Visit Fall 2021 for more information about the season events.

Safety first

The Center for the Performing Arts has 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 might 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 you are familiar with the rules and expectations.

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