Performance artist unveils ‘Schwanze-Beast’ at Marlboro


MARLBORO -- Vermont Performance Lab joined forces with Marlboro College to bring writer and performance art icon Alina Troyano (a.k.a. Carmelita Tropicana) to southern Vermont for an in-depth research and development residency to expand her latest work "Schwanze-Beast."

Last October, Tropicana’s residency began with a planning visit that included her first Vermont appearance as one of three judges at the Brattleboro Literary Festival’s Literary Death Match event. Since then, Tropicana has visited Vermont for a VPL Lab Talk at Marlboro College with Obie Award-winning theater director Ain Gordon and to co-teach the "Borders, Boundaries, and Crossings" theater seminar with Marlboro College professor Brenda Foley.

Now, Tropicana returns to Vermont for a VPL residency with long-time collaborators filmmaker Ela Troyano, and Berlin actor/director Susanne Sachsse to workshop "Schwanze-Beast" on Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m., at Marlboro College’s Whittemore Theater. The showing will be followed by a discussion with the artists and VPL Director Sara Coffey.

In this new work, Tropicana and her collaborators have delved into ethics and scientific inquiry to pose the question: "What separates human from beast?" Tropicana deftly mixes languages (English, German and Spanish) and form to create a hybrid performance work. In "Schwanze-Beast" she will meld the scientific with science fiction and performance to address the civil rights of the animal species, delving into biotech and bio-politics in a minimal expressionistic performance style.

Tropicana writes, "As an artist I straddle the world of performance art and theater, using humor and fantasy as subversive tools to re-write history from the point of view of woman, man, child and assorted animals and insects. As a bicultural artist, I use spoken language to examine concepts through foreign words." Her work has been presented nationally and internationally both in Spanish and English, and in 1999 she garnered an Obie award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.

Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended by calling 802-257-3361 or visiting

The residency with Carmelita Tropicana is produced by Vermont Performance Lab in association with Marlboro College, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and VPL’s Creation Fund donors.

Carmelita Tropicana (a.k.a. Alina Troyano) is a performance artist, playwright and actor, who burst on New York’s downtown performing arts scene in the ‘80s with her alter ego, the spitfire Carmelita Tropicana and her counterpart, the irresistible archetypal Latin macho Pingalito Betancourt. In her work, humor and fantasy become subversive tools to rewrite history.

Tropicana’s performances plays and videos have been presented at venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea in Barcelona, the Berlin International Film Festival and many venues in the U.S. She is the recipient of many awards and fellowships including an Obie for sustained excellence in performance. Visit


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