A Chicano's Guide to Navigation

Performance Details

The Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA)

A Chicano’s Guide to Navigation

By John Colie

Black Box Theatre
Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts
430 College Avenue

March 24, 7:30 p.m., 
March 25, 5:00 p.m., 
March 26, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Department Note

The vision of the Department of Performing and Media Arts is to nurture and mentor artists, performers, writers, and thinkers through the process of event programming. We recognize that all people should see their stories represented, and envision their stories as valuable.

We commit ourselves to creating spaces that actively seek to break down systems of oppression based on race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and place of origin and empower all to be involved. We seek to stimulate thoughtful discussion and enact social change within our productions and our audiences. It is our goal to make our events accessible to the wider Cornell and Ithaca community, to strengthen bonds and engage inquiry, dialogue, and impact around social and cultural change.

In the 2021-2022 academic year we will help realize a wide range of students’ creative projects, from original plays, to solo performances, to readings, to choreographies, to acting, directorial, and curatorial projects. We are particularly happy that in addition to supporting live performances, we are now also supporting the production of several student thesis films. Enjoy the shows!

Director's Statement

I first started writing what would become A Chicano’s Guide to Navigation in April 2021, in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Adam Toledo in Chicago. Starting as a response to and record of my feelings about this and so many other instances of police brutality, it grew over the next months to incorporate various aspects of my family’s own history and circumstances. By the end of it, the play had become a cross between meta-presentation and continuous dialogue.

In transforming this into a full-fledged production, Aisling and I have tried to imbue these stories and experiences with the same care and reverence they require, to ultimately make something which will not only be powerful and inspiring, but also plain interesting and even funny. The fact that it routinely switches between substantial portions of audience interaction and monologue and self-contained scenes and exchanges between multiple characters definitely proves for an experience somewhat different from a more conventional style or format, but is one for which we have found various opportunities for experimentation to match our versatile setting and scope.

The two of us have enjoyed working on A Chicano’s Guide to Navigation immensely, as well as meeting all the wonderful people who have poured their energy and time into making it something dynamic and unique—their unflagging dedication and openness throughout this process have made it something beyond anything I imagined while still working on it.

We hope that people will enjoy watching what we created, and possibly even be inspired to tell their own stories in the future.

- John Colie

Cast Profiles

Photo of Sofia Sarai AguireeSofia Sarai Aguirre - Maria
Sofia Sarai Aguirre is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in History with minors in Film and Russian. This is her first play ever. She is so excited to have A Chicano's Guide to Navigation as her stage debut! Outside of the PMA program, Sofia can be found still in the Schwartz where she works as a building monitor.

Photo of Jenniviv Bansah

Jenniviv Bansah - Sylvia
Jenniviv Bansah is a junior in the School of Hotel Administration, minoring in Information Science. Last Fall, she played a few characters in Townhall. She is passionate about storytelling, dance, and tennis. She is excited to be performing in A Chicano’s Guide to Navigation as Sylvia. Enjoy!

Photo of Michael Ratzkin Mallol

Michael Ratzkin Mallol - Enrique
Michael Ratzkin Mallol is a senior graduating from the ILR School this May. He is happy to be back in person and very excited to be taking the stage for the first time since a fourth-grade production of Oliver TwistOliver Twist. Also this spring, Michael has been cast as Enrique in A Chicano’s Guide to Navigation, put on by PMA. Outside of class Michael has taken an active role in the Cornell Speech & Debate Society Spanish Language team, serving as Vice President of Internal Affairs and winning the Princeton and Cornell tournaments, and traveling as far as Lima, Peru to represent Cornell. Michael is also a passionate multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter.

Production and Creative Team Profiles

Photo of John Colie

John Colie - Writer and Co-Director
John Colie is a Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying English and History. He previously wrote Night Comes for the North Country and acted in Jodeci for White Girls, both produced as part of the 2020 10-Minute Play Festival, though this is the first full-length work he has collaborated on with the department. John has tremendously enjoyed working with everyone else on this production to bring this work to the stage.

Photo by Aisling Mannion

Aisling Mannion - Co-Director
Aisling Mannion is a sophomore Industrial & Labor Relations major with a minor in English. She is delighted to be a part of her first PMA production! Aisling has been acting onstage since the age of 5, but was excited to make her directorial debut this past fall with The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Cornell's Risley Hall. Aisling has loved working on this production and is deeply grateful to have been a part of such an important project.

Photo of Teresa Janikova

Teresa Janikova - Stage Manager
Teresa Janikova is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She previously worked as a stage manager for Festival 24.

PMA Production Staff and Crew


Kayla Bouazouni, Sophie Cianfarani, Abigail Crowley, Kaitlyn Cui, Andrew Dettmer, Jacob Duffles-Andrade, Yuou Jiang, Benjamin Lederman, Julianna Lee, Lillian Liu, Jack Muench, Anusua Nath, Samantha Noland, Gabriella Peters, Cole Romero, Yifan Tong

Building/Production Staff

Sofia Aguirre, Mackenzie Closson, Naomi Daniel, Samantha Granja, Deepak Ilango, Anastasia Kreisel, Jack McManus, Maxwell Ringer, Matthew Saylor, Ariel Shaked, Sarah Zaragoza-Smith

PMA Production Staff

Director of Productions & Events: Pamela Lillard
Technical Director: Fritz Bernstein
Stage Manager: Howard Klein
Assistant Technical Director: Savannah Relos
Props Coordinator: Tim Ostrander
Master Electrician: Steven Blasberg
Costume Shop Supervisor: Lisa Boquist
Computer Support: Chris Christensen
Media Assistant: Randy Hendrickson
Communications & Events Coordinator: Youngsun Palmer
Communications Manager: Gary Gabisan
Box Office Manager: Julie Tibbits
Department Manager: Christopher Riley

Special Thanks

To everyone who read, commented on, or encouraged this project throughout its different stages of development.