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Andrew Figueroa's "Mixed-Race Mixtape"

Andrew Figueroa is the primary writer and performer of Mixed-Race Mixtape, a piece he first performed as part of his Div III capstone project.

Andrew Figueroa is done with his Division III capstone project, and now he’s taking it on the road. As the primary writer and performer of Mixed-Race Mixtape, Figueroa has been refining the piece since he first performed it as part of his Div III project in October.

Andrew Figueroa

“For my Div III, I wrote this hip hop theatre piece, based tightly on my own experience coming from a mixed class, multilingual, multicultural household,” he says. “It’s a fusion of live instrumental hip hop, movement, spoken word, rap, and theatre to create an interactive experience.”

The plot of the piece follows the main character, Fig, as he navigates through life, portraying his interactions with his family, friends, lovers, peers, educators, and police.  “This show follows Fig answering the question of ‘Who am I to me?’ That’s the only thing that matters. There are so many institutions and people, systems that are coming at Fig from so many angles, pressuring him to choose, or telling him what he is, and it makes it really hard for him to stay grounded in his authentic self,” Figueroa says.

“Right now, with what’s happening in this country, with Baltimore, Ferguson, and the conversation around race, it becomes more relevant than ever. The show is really diving into the complexities of identity in the U..S, and not just leaving it at race, understanding the complexity of identity,” he says.  “We want to start conversations so people can better understand the internal and external factors that shape a person’s identity. Media, politics, class, and culture are just some of the things that we talk about in the show.”

Figueroa 10F has been reshaping the show since October, with the help of Allison Smartt 07F and Jorrell Watkins 11F. “Allison had just gotten done producing MOM BABY GOD [which itself grew from fellow Hampshire student Madeline Burrows 09F’s Div III] on a two-year national tour which became super successful,” he says. “She heard about the show, and signed on as production manager. Jorrell was one of the co-directors in the original piece and is now stepping on as artistic director.”

Figueroa’s refined project features a new cast of musicians, recomposed music, and a rewritten script. The cast recently performed a 15-minute segment at the Multicultural Theatre Conference at Amherst College in April.

“We will be rehearsing all summer. We will be doing a pre-tour show in August, around August 6-9,” he says. “People can come see that, location to be announced.”

For now, Figueroa is focusing on promoting the show through social media while juggling dates and place for performances across the country.

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