Satya Chávez. Photo: Actors Theatre

Where Did We Sit On The Bus?

Written by Brian Quijada
Directed by Matt Dickson
A digital creation by Satya Chávez and Matt Dickson

A review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2020 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

With great exuberance, Actors Theater of Louisville continues to produce quality theatrical content despite the limitations brought upon by Covid-19. Transforming their season to virtual platforms, our beloved ATL, as it’s known by fans, continues to produce new voices, resilient points of view, and captivating stories. And with Where Did We Sit On The Bus? the story is relevant, with a fresh intimate rhythm throughout the piece.

Theater is redefined within this work. As a young performer reflects on their life and how they fit into the community around them, this one-woman show incorporates different types of media. At times, the piece channels the spirit of a Tik-Tok video with selfie-style camera angles and lighting. The performer brushes her teeth in one scene while re-enacting a memory in her kitchen during another moment. Dancing in a den full of musical instruments, using found objects to recreate births, and wearing clothes assumedly from her own closet to embrace the modern pandemic limitations. Never relying on amateur selfies within its intimate filming style, a couple of fancy camera tricks, and staging with moments of soulful songs cast a spotlight on its star performer.

And what a performance she gives. Satya Chávez invites you into her home to tell her story as Bee Quijada, that’s with a Q not a K. A narrator of her own bildungsroman of sorts, Chávez hooks you from the beginning with her beatboxing and ukulele strumming. She is an enigmatic focal point as she tells the story based on the life of playwright and former Humana Festival actor, Brian Quijada. The music moves at a quick pace as Bee learns hard truths, asks difficult questions, and makes painstaking observations. Bee’s story is a real American story. Chávez brings terrific stamina as she meditates on lessons learned about the slave trade and Black History month juxtaposed with the lack of representation of her own culture. Her charismatic performance brings an audience to an experience that has been historically unseen and deserves to be heard.

Where Did We Sit On The Bus? is the type of show we need right now. The multimedia production is a celebration of representation and identity that keeps a steady pace. With one performer, her voice, and many instruments, a profound and bold new type of theater is shared with us all. 

Where Did We Sit On The Bus?

Streaming November 13 – May 31

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Tickets available here

Kate Barry earned her Bachelor’s in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and as well. Thanks for reading!