Butterflies May Fly Free: “Migraciones/Migrations” by Paradox Teatro

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater 
by Paradox Teatro: Sofia Padilla and Davey T Steinman
Puppetry design and sand art art by Sofia Padilla
Projection design by Davey T Steinman
Co-compositions by Dan Dukich and Davey T Steinman

August 12 & 13 at 8:00 pm
August 14 at 2:00 pm
Puppet Showplace Theater 
32 Station St
Brookline, MA 02445
Run is 50-minutes. No intermission. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

BROOKLINE, Mass. — No father would put his family on a boat unless the journey were safer than on land. This is paraphrased statement from a performance of Migraciones/Migrations by Paradox Teatro. It captures and builds upon the universal affirmation that a parent would do anything to save their children from harm. Anything: even to break immigration laws to journey to a foreign land whose people reject them sight unseen; to risk death and being sent back. Anything. 

In the press release, artists Sofia Padilla and Davey T. Steinman call Migraciones/Migrations “refugee puppetry and poetry in English and Español.” They created it “in honor of all the people whose needs push them to migrate far away from their homes forever.”

In their show, the artists compare the immigration of humans to the migration of butterflies. Monarch butterflies fly between the Sierra Madre Mountains to Eastern North America. They spend their summers on the Cape and their winters in Mexico. Sofia Padilla dons a butterfly hat with transparent wings while Steinman accompanies her. Even if she is not traveling at the moment of her performance, the hat’s wings flap back and forth as if Padilla were traveling in her mind. 

Much of the production is silent. There is minimal dialogue in English and in Spanish. The most important moments are completely silent or done with instrumental accompaniment. Padilla uses a human-sized puppet that takes photos of his surroundings. His right hand communicates to use by drawing intricate pictures in sand on a projector screen. He doesn’t need words to communicate the loss, sadness, and fear in these photos. He does need us to connect with the selfless bravery and hope of people who make sacrifices for a better life. 

Padilla and Steinman have strong, sure voices. They aren’t singing pretty songs but self-composed missives on the behalf of voiceless people. The closest this hybrid multi-media puppet show meets non-verbal story hour gets to any traditional form is when both artists embrace a handle suitcase and open it to reveal a puppet in a makeshift cage. A country’s borders may feel like an invisible cage. The US is still keeping humans in cages at the Mexican border. Butterflies may fly away free, but we can’t. 

Migraciones/Migrations was good but it was heavy. Sofia Padilla and Davey T Steinman aren’t creating art with small messages to be briefly pondered and forgotten. The border crisis is ongoing. It has existed for decades and may not see resolution in our lifetimes. 

Migraciones/Migrations impresses upon us the necessity of action and the longevity of its purpose. It is a production that should inspire you to take action: donate, protest, email your politicians. It may take audiences several days to process the trauma layered into this production. Be as kind to yourself as you wish others were to immigrants. 

About Paradox Teatro:
Paradox Teatro is a multimedia performing arts company founded in 2017 by Artistic Co-Directors Sofía Padilla from Mexico & Davey T Steinman from the United States. The company has toured performances and taught arts residencies in Europe, the United States, and Mexico.

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