The 2024 Festival has concluded—thanks to all who joined us!

Lunch with Sonia

By Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company  

Created & Directed by Federico Restrepo Jaramillo & Denise Greber
Choreographed by Federico Restrepo Jaramillo
Puppet, Light, Video, & Set Design by Federico Restrepo Jaramillo  
Sound Design & Music by Leonie Bell  
Costume Design by Becky Hubbert 
Technical Director: Juan Merchan
Stage Manager: Denise Greber
Video Consultant: Hao Bai  

Featuring: Federico Restrepo with
Mariana Celander, Aaron Haskell, Hope Kroog, Jorge Ariel Blanco Muñoz, Melissa Álvarez Wilches

Voice of Sonia: Luz Beatriz Pizano 
Additional Voice Over Actors: Arthur Adair, Catherine Correa, Zulivet Díaz, Solvej Lee,

Performers in Kitchen Video: Alberto Quiroga, with Esmeralda Pinzón, Carolina Restrepo,  

Federico Restrepo, & Natalia Schönwald  

Camera: Alberto Sierra Restrepo  

Research & Selected Writings: Diana Jaramillo & Catalina Restrepo  

Final Song Arrangement & Vocals: Chris Ignacio; Guitar: Yuto Kanazawa  

Sound Capture (Colombia): Gabriel Ponce

 


 

Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company, founded by Colombian born artist, Federico Restrepo in 1985, develops and promotes creative productions of Dance, Theatre, Puppets, Visual Arts, and other forms of artistic expression. The company explores the junction of race, culture, history, and media in New York and throughout the global community. 

Loco7’s cultural policies emphasize pluralism, dialogue, and cultural transformation. Loco7’s artistic mission has been to develop the use of puppetry as an Instrument for the dancer, a style that incorporates dance and design. Utilizing original music, musicians, dancers, body puppets, and larger then life marionettes, the objective is to merge these various elements and weave a choreography which extends beyond the body of the dancer. The undertaking of the ensemble is to deal with themes such as South and Central American Culture and History, the Immigrants’ experience, and New York City Urban Life. 

Currently our annual programming consists of workshops and performances for children and workshops and performances with seniors in affiliated senior centers, as well as a bi-annual fully realized adult production. Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre is committed to improving our community through artistic and educational programming. Art has the unique power to unite communities and heal unseen wounds. Loco7 has facilitated workshops at Sirovich Center, The United Jewish Council, Grand Street Settlement, Bank Street Head Start, City Lore, PACT, and NYC-area public schools as well as many universities.

Loco7 has premiered many original pieces at La MaMa in New York City, with subsequent tours throughout the world. Most recently Loco7 premiered Lunch with Sonia (2021), Don Quixote Takes New York (2018), Seucy & Boto, epi 2 (2017), Seucy & Boto, epi 4 (2016), Undefined Fraction (2016/2015), Seucy & Boto, epi 1,2,3 (2015), Plunge (2013), Free Falling (2013), Urban Odyssey (2012), In Retrospect (2010), Room To Panic (2008), Open Door (2006), Bokan – the Bad Hearted (2004), 9 Windows (2002), Colores (1998), Aguirre, the Spiral of the Warrior (1996), Cosecha (1990), Loco7 (1989), and two other Gotham fantasies: Locombia (1986), Carrera (1988). In addition Loco7 premiered in Bogotá, Colombia, Piratas de Papel (1994) and Mobile Urbano (1986).

 

Federico Restrepo (Creator / Director / Choreographer / Puppet / Light Design) was born in Bogotá, Colombia and founded his company, Loco7, at La MaMa in 1986 to expand the use of puppetry in Dance Theater. With Loco7 he has created over twenty original productions, acting as creator, director and designer. He has appeared at La MaMa as a member of the Great Jones Repertory Company in Ellen Stewart’s Asclepius, The Raven, Perseus, Antigone, Mythos Oedipus, Dionysus Fillus Dei, Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter, Seven Against Thebes and Draupai. He is a resident puppet designer, choreographer, performer and director of La MaMa. In addition he has designed lights for over fifty professional productions in New York as well as abroad. Selected companies include: Great Jones Repertory, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, New Stage Theatre Company, Edward Einhorn, and Electric Black Productions. Federico is a teaching artist, teaching puppet, mask design and construction to adults, children and seniors. Residencies include: Sirovich Center, The United Jewish Council, Grand Street Settlement, Bank Street Head Start, City Lore, PACT, and NYC-area public schools as well as many universities throughout the U.S., including New York University, Trinity College, Hunter College CUNY, Queensborough Community College CUNY, among others. In addition Loco7 has performed and facilitated workshops internationally, in such countries as Colombia, Guatemala, Italy, Poland, Croatia, to name a few. He is the Producing Director of the La MaMa Puppet Series Festival. 

Through Loco7, Restrepo, has received funding from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, The Ford Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, American Music Center-Live Music for Dance, Foundation of Contemporary Arts, The Indie Theater Fund Rapid Response Emergency Fund, Yip Harburg Lyrics Foundation, The Leon Levy Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces Grant Program and the Ford Foundation Diverse Arts Spaces; Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; The Fund, supported by New York State Council of the Arts and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Ministerio De Cultura Colombia, Minister of Exterior Relations of Colombia, Instituto Distrital De Cultura Y Turismo Bogotá, Colombia and TeatroStageFest as well as individual donors.

Denise Greber (Creator / Director) came to the industry with a background in acting, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with a specialization in performance, with a Minor in English Literature, from Brooklyn College. Denise is the Managing Director with Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company in various roles managing their operations. Denise has been a member and managing director of Loco7 since 2001. She has been involved with the creation in Loco7 productions as writer, director, costume designer, and performer: Lunch with Sonia, Don Quixote Takes NY, The Adventures of Seucy and Boto, Urban Odyssey (nominated for a 2012 NY Innovative Theatre Award for best performance piece), In Retrospect, Room To Panic, Open Door, Bokan, The Bad Hearted (for which she was nominated Best Costume Design 2005 Innovative Theatre Awards), and 9 Windows. She is currently Director of Artistic Operations at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Denise has been part of the La MaMa Team since 1999, she has held various positions over the years and is currently Director of Artistic Operations. In this role she oversees programming, scheduling, touring, La MaMa international collaborations, the theatre’s marketing initiatives, and various projects, including programming for the La MaMa Puppet Series / Festival, along with other special projects, such as La MaMa Kids, Jump Start and coordinating La MaMa’s repertory company, the Great Jones Repertory. Denise has been a teaching artist for children ranging 3 to 18 years old as well as University level students. In addition to her acting background, she was trained in costume design, directing, dance, and voice throughout her education. An active theatre artist, Denise is deeply passionate about theatre, dance, puppetry, and education. 

Leonie Bell (Sound Composition and Design) is a German-American theater-maker and sound designer from Berlin, based in New York. Her pieces are bilingual, highly-physical, interdisciplinary landscapes with an absurdist hue, which center matriarchal lineages, imagine nature as a main character, and often endow the audience with more creative powers (where snacks are always served). Leonie also facilitates the performance project LOCAL GRANDMA, a free-form theater project devoted to rigorous play, communal care-taking, and causing a ruckus. LG’s upcoming Sonntags wird Gelogen Or We Only Lie on Sundays will premiere at the Brick Theater in December 2021. Recent sound credits include: Phase One: The Underbrush (New Phase Collective), I Don’t Want to Interrupt You Guys (Mabou Mines), Sing, Goddess! (HERE Arts), Women Screaming (The Tank), Cracked (Theater at the 14th Street Y), An Easy Guide to Time Management (Dixon Place). Leonie also works as one of the sound demons for shows at Target Margin Theater (dir. David Herskovits). Sound design Awards: La MaMa DesignFest 2020, Indie Shorts Awards Cannes 2021 (Phosphor). BA: Bard College, MFA: Sarah Lawrence College. http://leoniebell.org

Marina Celander (Ensemble) Marina received the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s Red Socks Award 2014 for her contribution to Asian American theatre. In 2016 Marina was nominated for the Innovation In Performance Award for her solo show Mermaid’s Howl at the Stockholm Fringe Festival. She was then invited to the Tony award-winning theatre La MaMa as part of their solo festival Series Of One 2018. Marina’s solo show Shakespeare’s Sisters was invited to perform at the Estrogenius Festival in NYC 2019. Tree She, a collaboration with Swedish composer Fredrik Söderberg, premiered at Estrogenius Festival 2020. Tree She was nominated for Best Movement Artist by the Young-Howze Theatre Awards. Marina’s and Fredrik’s continued collaboration, Sea She, premiered on The Six Foot Platform in Dumbo Sept 2021; a new form of residency on a small platform hosted by Brooklyn Arts Council and Dumbo BiD. As a hula student Marina has had the honor of studying with notable Kumu Hula (hula master teachers) for the last 20 years, and has then made it her mission to spread aloha and hula in New York City’s public elementary schools. Marina Celander is so delighted to be performing with Loco7 at long last. 

Melisa Alvarez Wilches  (Ensemble) is a dancer, interpreter, creator and professional educator with more than 10 years of national and international experience. She graduated from the Colegio del cuerpo in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and has studied with prestigious companies such as Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and Btasheva in Israel. She also belonged to the Seed’s Junior company in Spain, dancing pieces by emblematic choreographers such as “Hofesh Schechter”, “Anthon Lachky” and “Peter Mika” among others. She is also the winner of a scholarship for professional training at La Nuova Oficcina della Danza, in Torino, Italy, where she received repertoire and technique from various important teachers on the European scene.

Aaron Haskell (Ensemble / Sonia Puppeteer) started working with Loco7 as a dancer/puppeteer in 2004 with Bokan The Bad Hearted (La MaMa NYC and Colombia- Iberoamericano Theatre Festival 2006) where he jump started his life as a puppeteer and puppet maker. Since then, he has toured extensively nationally and internationally with War Horse (Joey/Topthorn), Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk: First Flight (Spirit Puppeteer), as well as other productions. Some credits as a Creator and Director are: Wake Up, You’re Dead (2010 La MaMa), Me_irl: The Crow (2016 Horror Play Festival NYC). In addition, he is in development with two pieces: The Pact (St. Ann’s Warehouse Labapoluza, Dixon Place Puppet Block, international venues), and Dream Sequence 1: Find the Light (Workshopped at Dixon Place). He has worked as a puppet technician for Lion King Broadway, Acheson Walsh Studios NYC, as well as developing and creating puppets/ theatre spectacles for projects around the world. For more info please visit AaronHaskell.com. He is very excited and grateful to be back again with Loco7 developing and performing in Lunch with Sonia

Becky Hubbert (Costume Design) designs and builds costumes for puppets, actors, and dancers in New York City, where she has lived and worked since 1998. Becky is honored to have costumed shows at La MaMa, for various companies in different spaces. With Loco7, Becky has designed for Don Quixote Takes New York (2018-2019) and Undefined Fraction (2015). Other La MaMa highlights include Ravaged by Romance (2003), directed by Julie Atlas Muz; The Bad Hostess (2008), directed by Linda Simpson; The Etiquette of Death (2012), directed by Everett Quinton and Julie Atlas Muz; Horseplay: The Fickle Mistress (2014), directed by Elyse Singer for Theater Askew, and The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery (2017), directed by Karen Finley. Collaborations in film and television include a wide range of commercial work, including a few films and tv shows. As a 829 union member Becky’s work schedule, like everyone, has been interrupted by COVID.  She is so happy to be back in the theater after this crazy past year and a half and has enjoyed collaborating with everyone working on this production. She is thankful to La MaMa and Loco7 for having her once again.

Hope Kroog (Ensemble) is thrilled to be performing with Loco7 and sharing the stage with such a wonderful, creative, and generous group of performing artists. She also originated roles in Loco7’s The Adventures of Seucy and Boto Series and Undefined Fraction. Other credits include Lucky Tongue’s My Generation Show, as well as working with noted dance companies: Dance Visions NY, Sarah Berges Dance and Boulder Ballet.

Jorge Ariel Blanco Muñoz (Ensemble) is a theater artist based in Brooklyn via San Juan, Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico, B.A., Drama. Traveled Spain as a member of the “Teatro Rodante” performing different theater styles. Spain: Elisava: School of Design and Engineering, M.A. Design and Art Direction (Barcelona). London: Art Director and Performer, CASA Latin-American Theatre Festival. Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR), M.A., Advanced Theatre Studies, (2017). Latest work includes: Grand Panorama by Theodora Skipitares at La MaMa, and Human by Nehprii Ameni. 

Beatriz Pizano (Voice of Sonia) is an award-winner actor/director and playwright.  She is the founder and Artistic Director of Aluna Theatre in Canada, a company recognized for its unique approach to creation, its daring political work, and its experimentation with multi-language productions. She has received a number of prestigious awards including the John Hirsch Prize, the Chalmers Fellowship, the K.M. Hunter award and numerous Dora awards and nominations as playwright and director. She is the first Latinx actress to win a Toronto Critics award and a Dora for her performance in Blood Wedding. As a playwright she has participated numerous times at the Banff Centre for the Arts Playwright’s Lab and in 2019 she was invited back as the senior playwright in residency. That year Beatriz was also named one of TD’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians. Most recently Beatriz has appeared in the acclaimed productions of Alien Creature (TPM), Dividing Lines (Aluna Theatre), and Four Sisters (Paradigm Productions/Luminato Festival). She will soon appear as Bernarda Alba in a co-production between Aluna and Modern Times Stage Company.