about the project
On the Eve of Abolition is an original, bilingual (Spanish-English), multimedia and mask/puppet theater performance by Papel Machete. The story is set in 2047 on the last day of the last prison in transnational liberated lands of Southern North America. A movement of abolitionists have created the conditions to end the prison industrial complex. There are abolition camps, formerly incarcerated people, families, and organizers outside, and from within, prisoners organized in this final moment to end all prisons.
The play is a radical imaginary sci-fi story based on current conditions in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. We use rod, tabletop and shadow puppets, masks, miniature sets, pop-ups, stop-motion, and video projection to create an immersive experience for the audience. Learn more about the making of On the Eve of Abolition on our Creative Process page.
Papel Machete is a radical theater and puppetry collective that produces and performs original work throughout Puerto Rico and the US. The collective started on May 1, 2006, during the government shutdown, in response to the economic and political crisis generated by the status of Puerto Rico as a colony of the US. Since then, we have established a body of work inspired by a commonly shared aesthetic and values. Using papier mâché as our main medium, Papel Machete explores a wide range of art forms and styles, including toy theater, cantastorias, shadow theater, table-top puppetry, masks, performing objects, and giant puppets. Papel Machete has brought theater to new audiences and venues to denounce exploitation, build solidarity, and agitate for action in the struggles of frontline communities. We are co-founders and part of the organizing committee of Titeretada, a yearly independent puppetry festival in Puerto Rico.