'I Was the Voice of Democracy' to be staged at KU

    LAWRENCE — Brian Herrera, assistant professor of theatre at the University of New Mexico, will perform his autobiographical performance piece, "I Was the Voice of Democracy," at the University of Kansas Friday, Oct. 28. The hourlong one-man show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Inge Theatre in Murphy Hall.

    "I Was the Voice of Democracy," which premiered as part of SoloFest2010 at Albuquerque's The Filling Station and has subsequently been seen at theaters in Taos, N.M.; Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago, recalls the true story of a gay Latino teenager who is briefly thrust into a peculiar kind of fame when a patriotic speech he writes on a whim ends up winning a national contest.

The show offers a mix of analysis and anecdotes, both hilarious and heartbreaking, as Herrera puzzles through the memories, mementos and artifacts that comprise the archive of his own teenage experience. By turns comedic and contemplative, the story is told in style that is equal parts David Sedaris and Spalding Gray, and asks whether we ever really stop being the person we once were.
    "I Was the Voice of Democracy" was the Keynote Performance of the LGBTQ Pre-Conference of the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. A radio version of the show premiered on KUNM’s Radio Theatre in June 2011 and has since been heard on public radio stations in the United States and Canada.
    A native New Mexican, Herrera is a writer, teacher and scholar whose academic and creative work explores the historical formation of gender, sexual and racial identities within U.S. popular entertainment and performance. He holds degrees from Brown University, the University of New Mexico and Yale University, where he earned his Ph.D. in American Studies. As a theater director, Brian is an alumnus of the Drama League of New York Directors Project, has served as an Artistic Associate with New York's Three Dollar Bill Theatre, and has worked at such theatres as Mark Taper Forum/Taper Too!, Manhattan Punchline, Circle Rep, Playwright's Horizons, and Albuquerque's Blackout Theatre.
    Herrera's visit to KU is hosted by the Department of Theatre's Scene Partners program and the Department of American Studies. While on campus, he will offer a workshop for theatre students on devising solo, autobiographical work from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 28 in Studio 354, Murphy Hall. Students must sign up in advance on the bulletin board in the Green Room.
    Herrera's performance is free and open to the public, but advance reservations must be made through the University Theatre Ticket Office, 864-3982.