Supporting creative work by women
Reynaliz Herrera is a Boston-based classically trained musician and performer originally from Monterrey, Mexico. She is also the drummer of alternative Boston-based rock band, Muy Cansado, with whom she recently performed at SXSW Festival in Austin, and serves also as a music percussion coach at different after school programs in Boston.
This August, she will bring her percussion show–Ideas, Not Theories–to the New York International Fringe Festival. Combining percussion music and theatrical elements, Ideas, Not Theories features her original music which explores the use of unconventional instruments such as: bikes, tap and body percussion, water as well as traditional percussion instruments such as: marimbas and drums. The show is appropriate for all ages.
WORKS BY WOMEN: How did Ideas, Not Theories take shape?
REYNALIZ HERRERA: I grew up as a classical musician and percussionist. Since my beginnings though, I would collaborate with my mother’s modern dance company and write theatrical percussion pieces for her performances. I always had a curiosity and enthusiasm for experimenting with music and unconventional instruments, especially using everyday life objects as the musical instruments. After a very strict and intense training from classically oriented music university and conservatories, I decided to pursue experimenting more with my music the use of unconventional instruments, and theatrical elements in order to find my particular voice. Ideas, Not Theories is the result of that, and the shaping of my own voice.
WBW: You use bicycles in as a musical instrument in the show. What inspires you about bicycles as a musical instrument?
RH: At first, my inspiration was necessity. The idea of playing on a bicycle came from going out to busk and not having a lot of instruments available. The bicycle was my solution. After I discovered I could do this, my inspiration was exploration: exploration of sound, movement and energy, and as I mentioned before the whole idea of experimenting and using the “unconventional”.
WBW: What excites you about being part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival?
RH: I think that this will be a great opportunity for me and the show since I have been looking and working a lot in order to have this piece being heard and noticed. I am very excited to meet a ton of other artists, perform in New York with great New York artists, and support the great community that is the New York International Fringe Festival.
WBW: Tell us about being a working artist in Boston. What’s that like?
RH: I feel people in general are really open towards what I do and towards new ideas. The only downside I have experienced is that it is really hard to be able to present your work and get paid for it. At the same time, even though the general audience is very welcoming, since the nature of my work is experimental and crosses disciplines somehow, it is a little tricky to find your own scene. You kind of have to create your own scene.
WBW: What’s next for you?
RH: Right now I am intensely working on my production of the show at FringeNYC, after that, I am excited to search for performance opportunities of the Ideas, Not Theories in Boston, as well as festivals in Mexico, the U.S and Canada.
WBW: What do you think are the challenges facing women in American theater?
RH: Not particularly about women on theater or women on music, but about women in any artistic discipline, I think it is usually a little harder for women to get a position, or to entitle credibility on their work. I think things are changing now though, and society is more aware of equality between men and women, which is great. At the same time though, you always hear the one who says “Wow, you are doing this… and you are a woman!”… My answer is… “Yeah, so?”.
WBW: What gives you hope (and/or inspires you) about women in American theater?
RH: Since my background is more about music I will talk more about women in any artistic discipline in America: It inspires me how American society is increasingly demanding equality. I like how this is seen and expressed in and through the arts. I really feel free to be who I am in here, and this is a blessing. I really hope this is the case with other women in the field.
Reynaliz Herrera’s Ideas, Not Theories will be at the New York International Fringe Festival this August. For tickets and more information, visit www.fringenyc.org.