About (Un)Documents: With a single phrase, you can give up your country. With a single signature, you can tear a family apart. With a single word, you can learn to transform. In their first full-length solo show, (Un)Documents, award-winning actor and poet Jesús I. Valles journeys across both sides of a river with two names, moving between languages to find their place as a child, a lover, a teacher, and a sibling in a nation that demands sacrifice at the altar of citizenship. In doing so, they create a new kind of documentation written with anger, fierce love, and the knowledge that what makes us human can never be captured on a government questionnaire. Directed by Rudy Ramirez, the show received its initial staging at The VORTEX in 2018 as part of FuturX: A New Festival of Latinx Performance. (Un)Documents won three 2018 B. Iden Payne awards for Outstanding Original Script, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, and Outstanding Direction of a Drama, and was nominated for Outstanding Production of a Drama. (Un)Documents was also presented as part of the 2019 OutsiderFest artist’s showcase and featured at the Latinx Theatre Common’s Sin Fronteras Festival. (Un)Documents returned to The VORTEX in May of 2019 for a two week encore and received five nominations from the Austin Critics Table Association, including the Mark David Cohen Award for Best New Play.
Artist’s Bio: Jesús I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer based in Austin, Texas, originally from Cd. Juarez, México. Jesús holds a Master’s in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach, with a focus on performance and qualitative research methods. Their research with Latina domestic workers in Los Angeles has been presented at the National Communication Association, The Western States Communication Association, and the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Jesús is a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Idyllwild Writers Week poetry fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, a 2018 Undocupoets fellow, and a fellow of The Poetry Foundation’s 2018 Poetry Incubator. Jesús has also received the Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a poetry scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center, the 2018 Fund the Change grant, and was named the runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest, and a finalist of the 2016 Write Bloody Poetry Contest. Their work has been published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Harvard’s Palabritas, Quarterly West, and The Mississippi Review. As an actor, Jesús is the recipient of four B. Iden Payne awards including Outstanding Actor in Theater for Youth in 2016 and 2017 and Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama in 2018 for their solo show, (Un)Documents. They have been featured in multiple productions in Austin, TX. with companies such as Teatro Vivo, Shrewd Productions, The VORTEX, Lucky Chaos, GenEnCo, and Scottish Rite Theatre. Jesús currently teaches social and emotional learning to high school students, focusing on those recently arrived to the U.S.