Public Moves Ensemble Theatre Brings Slapstick, Seduction and Genocide to North County

PUUF-Alpenstock-emailFor Immediate Release
Contact Michael Mufson 760-716-7098

Public Moves Ensemble Theatre will perform the American premiere production of “Alpenstock” by French playwright Rémi de Vos and translated by Gwynneth Dowling, at the Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on November 22 and 23 at 7:00 P.M. Proceeds from these performances will benefit the fellowship’s Peace Team.

“Alpenstock” is a hilarious provocation that boldly challenges us to confront a variety of national obsessions. It revolves around Fritz and Grete, who live an apparently idyllic, conservative life . . . until Grete buys “foreign” detergent at The International Market to clean their chalet. Suddenly a suave foreigner penetrates their defenses and disrupts their predictable world, leading to seduction, slapstick and genocide.

John Polak as Fritz and Christina Wenning as Grete - emailRecently performed at the San Diego Fringe Festival, “Alpenstock” received a Critic’s Pick. The Union Tribune called it “A zany absurdist romp . . . a bawdy production that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with lots of laughs . . . some political ideas . . . a broad comic free-for-all.”

The circus of “Alpenstock” re-enacts the phenomena of nationalism, racism, sexism, immigration and violence. Although written in France and set within the context of Europe, ”Alpenstock” transcends its original context and speaks volumes to these phenomena as they exist in our own culture and community.

Marcos Martinez first saw a production of “Alpenstock” while teaching the Suzuki Method of Actor Training in Athens, Greece. As he describes, “It was a French play translated into Greek, and even though I didn’t understand a word, the action was hilarious and very clear. I couldn’t wait to see it again the next night.”

Inspired by the Greek production, Martinez commissioned Gwynneth Dowling to translate the play from the original French into English. He shared the translation with director Michael Mufson. “When I read the script I immediately grasped its potential to be a hysterical yet profound provocation to recognize some disturbing truths about our world while laughing our butts off.”

After Mufson and Martinez invited John Polak to play Fritz, they decided to create an umbrella organization to foster new theatre projects that engage communities, subjects, and forms that are ignored by the mainstream, commercially-oriented theatre. All three also share a background and passion for physical theatre. They set about to conceive a name and mission that would encompass these intentions, and arrived at Public Moves Ensemble Marcos Martinez as Yosip and Christina Wenning as Grete - emailTheatre with the mission, “To create theatre for the public good.”

“This immediately raised the question of what is the public good,” said Mufson. “Rather than offering some set answer, we are interested in theatre that provokes this question and stimulates discussion of what is in the public good. According to Christina Wenning, who plays Grete, “We are convinced that, in our current culture of apathy, partisan antipathy, technological disconnection, and pervasive violence, this is the most important question we can ask.”

The Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is located at 1600 Buena Vista Drive in Vista. Tickets are $10.00. For more information visit



Dreams In The Sand


April 17-20 and 25-27 at 8PM
California State University at San Marcos
Art 111 located behind the statue of Cesar Chavez
Students $10 General Admission$15

The play tells the story of a long time undocumented resident who has been deported and wanders through the desert as he tries to return to his family. On his journey he encounters fellow travelers who may be real or hallucinations who share their stories of struggle and conflicts as immigrants in the land of the American Dream.

The production is the result of two collaborations that merged with a common purpose. Joe Powers was inspired to begin work on a play when he read an article written by Edward Sifuentes, North County Times, regarding the deportation of a Vista man, his plight to return to his family and ultimately his death in the desert. “Upon reading the article I was overwhelmed and deeply concerned by the circumstances, but more than anything I became concerned about the lack of humanity in the unfolding of events,” said playwright Joe Powers.

Meanwhile, Professor Marcos Martinez, of California State University at San Marcos, was forming Por Mis Ojos (Through My Eyes), a group intended to create original theatre about the experiences of immigrants in North County. Marcos explains, “The focus of the Por Mis Ojos(Through My Eyes) project, supported by the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, highlights the stories of Latinos in North County. Many of those stories are tied to immigration and the reaction to the huge demographic changes now occurring most clearly seen in our last election. This project brings voice to fundamental change occurring locally and nationally. We are doing what the theatre as the social art should do, addressing the human condition as we see it. “

According to Joe, “I realized immediately the play would be bigger than me; that it needed to be, not only a play about a community, but with the community. When I learned that Marcos had formed Por Mis Ojos, I contacted him about joining the collaboration”

Joe continued to find stories from articles and research by Edward Sifuentes as the the Por Mis Ojos group conducted community forums to collect stories from residents. In composing the script, Joe wove together the narrative of the Man’s journey through the desert with poems written specifically for the production by California Poet Laureate, University of California Creative Writing professor and award winning poet, Juan Felipe Herrera [a one time Escondido resident and son of a migrant farm worker]. Michael Mufson, theatre professor at Palomar College, has been an active collaborator and strong supporter of the project from its inception. Enrique Morones of the Border Angels has also been an inspiration to the piece.

Although the play focuses on immigrant experiences Joe clarifies, “At the core of the play is the notion that all human life is important and that we need to move away from the idea that a death in the desert, or on a battlefield or for that matter under any circumstances is merely a statistic, a number . . . rather that it is a human life.”