Borderless: A Series of Collaborations Across Campus and Beyond



Borderless is a series curated by the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts that is dedicated to producing an array of theatrical works by playwrights representative of the diversity of experiences essential for students, faculty, administrators, and greater Iowa City community members to encounter onstage. As a predominantly-white institution (PWI), this initiative emerged in spring 2020 under the name “Diverse Voices” and has been renamed Borderless in the fall of 2020 to more clearly embrace its essential pillar: collaboration. We’re dedicated to working beyond the walls of the Theatre Building and permeating borders between university departments, across campus, and to the professional theatre world.

Borderless aims to a) provide a tailored, collaborative theatrical experience to a playwright sharing a unique perspective, b) the opportunity for our students to work alongside an artist outside of the university, c) encourage collaboration with students and faculty of other departments and programs on campus, and d) introduce audiences that are regular Department of Theatre Arts production attendees as well as new theatregoers to view a compelling story told from a what will hopefully be a new perspective.

The inaugural event of the series was a staged reading and discussion of Reconciliation by Marisa Carr (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe). In the fall of 2020, Borderless is focused on two collaborations with the Latino Native American Cultural Center: a virtual play reading of Marisela Treviño Orta’s Ghost Limb on October 4, 2020 to celebrate Latinx/a/o Heritage Month, and a soon-to-be-announced theatrical event celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November.

Borderless: Celebrating Indigenous Theatre

"Celebrating Indigenous Theatre” is a roundtable and Q&A session with renowned Indigenous theatre artists: Ty Defoe (Giizhiig, Ojibwe + Onieda Nations), Mary Kathryn Nagle (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), Madeline Sayet (Mohegan), and Rhiana Yazzie (Navajo). This conversation will be moderated by Morgan Grambo, MFA ‘20, and is produced in conjunction with the Latino Native American Cultural Center’s Native American Heritage Month events.

“Celebrating Indigenous Theatre” is open to University students, faculty, and staff. The roundtable will occur in Zoom on Sunday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m. CST.

Join us for a conversation about the past, present, and future of Indigenous theatre. Click here to register.

Please contact for more information.

Borderless: Ghost Limb

Ghost Limb
By Marisela Treviño Orta
Consuelo’s son, Javier - an artist and activist - is forcibly disappeared by the military dictatorship of Argentina in 1977. She now must race to find him. Marisela Treviño Orta’s haunting play Ghost Limb draws upon the myth of Persephone and Demeter to call forth the story of the lives of those destroyed by the Dirty War.

This piece includes violent descriptions of war and torture.

Marisela Treviño Orta is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, and under commission by Audible. Her awards include the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama, 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award, and 2019 Kendeda Finalist. Her plays have been presented at Arizona Theatre Company, Brava Theater, Halcyon Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater, Milagro, New Jersey Repertory Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Shotgun Players. Her produced plays include Braided Sorrow, Ghost Limb, Heart Shaped Nebula, Somewhere, The River Bride, Wolf at the Door, and Woman on Fire.

A virtual reading and post-show discussion will take place on Sunday, October 4 at 4:00 p.m. Click here for a link to view the performance.

Diverse Voices: Reconciliation

By Marisa Carr

In a dystopian future, the United States government has initiated a “Truth and Reconciliation” process with Indigenous peoples – and lack of compliance is a federal crime. One woman with nothing left to lose challenges the charge of “Failure to Reconcile” and fights for her life. Is reconciliation possible? And if so, at what cost?

Marisa Carr is playwright who recently transplanted to Chicago after a decade in the Twin Cities. Her work has been presented and/or produced by theaters including: The Guthrie, Pillsbury House + Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, Intermedia Arts, and Pangea World Theatre. Selected recent awards and honors include: Scratchpad at the Playwrights' Realm (2019-2020), P73 Finalist (2019-20), Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival Finalist (2019), McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting Finalist (2019), Jerome Artist Fellowship Finalist (2019), Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship Semi-finalist (2019), Berkeley Rep Ground Floor Residency (2018), Forward Flux Three New American Plays Commission (2018), Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (2017), Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow (2016-17), Naked Stages Fellow at Pillsbury House + Theater (2015), and “Best New Political Playwright” (Lavender Magazine, 2014). Marisa is also Co-Founder/former Artistic Director of the Turtle Theater Collective, a Twin Cities-based company committed to producing high-quality, contemporary work that explores Native experiences and subverts expectations about how and when Native artists can create theater. She is Turtle Mountain Ojibwe from the Turtle clan.

A public reading and post-show discussion curated by Morgan Grambo, MFA '20 took place on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. in the Alan MacVey Theatre.