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Riven at BRIC Arts

This event has already taken place.Jan. 1, 7:30 – 9 pm.

A play in development about the intersections between motherhood and waste accumulation based on interviews with Brazilian waste pickers

The story of Riven centers the interweaving lives of Melina and Alessandra, two black Brazilian catadoras (waste pickers) working at a scrapyard in the city of São Paulo. As these two women sort through piles of waste in the predictable day-to-day of the scrapyard, they must sort through not only the accumulated discards of others, but through the accumulations of their own complex relationship and the chaotic and unforgiving world outside.

Riven raises awareness and gives voice to the global community of waste pickers – an invisible community that expands beyond Brazil, accounting for more than 20 million people around the world. Waste pickers collect–from streets and landfills–materials to be recycled and, therefore, contribute tremendously to the conservation of natural resources. A community that lives at the fringes of society, waste pickers sort our discards and in doing so care for a future other than their own.


Conceived and directed by Marina Zurita

Created in collaboration with Laila Garroni and Josanna Vaz

Performed by Josanna Vaz, Alecsys Proctor-Turner and Isabella Bushue

Stage managed by Erin Gray

Set Design by Federica Borlenghi

Co-produced by Ana Moioli and Giorgia Valenti

Music composition by Isabelle Bushue and Jackson Pelz


In 2021, amid the pandemic’s spotlight on essential workers, Marina Zurita spent time in her home city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, interviewing 35 waste pickers over a span of 2 months. The pickers shared with Marina about the shame, community and prejudice embedded in the symbiotic relationship between those who work amongst trash and the trash itself. They also spoke openly and often about the incredibly complex and dissonant mother figures in their upbringing.

Riven has recently been workshopped as a part of the LAB at A.P.E. which supports the development of new work through residency, mentorship, and ongoing conversation with peers in the field of performance making. The LAB was a collaboration between A.P.E. and Serious Play Theatre Ensemble.