Photo by Tanja Tiziana.
CHICHO is a solo show written and performed by Augusto Bitter. It follows an "ashamed-queer-Catholic-man-boy" from Venezuela hilariously attempting to feel beautiful despite his warring identity politics. It is an exploration of a diasporic experience that meticulously presents the disparity between a Queer-ibbean coming-of-age journey in Canada and the worsening socio-economic crisis in Venezuela.
CHICHO is Bitter’s first work in a series of personal responses to the complex humanitarian emergency plaguing Venezuela. The piece wrestles with the privilege of his emigration from Venezuela, the guilt he has internalized, and the identity crisis it has triggered. It touches on what it means on a personal level to belong in neither country— a tourist on both lands, at home somewhere on an imagined border— and be subject to racial and sexual discrimination, both external and self-imposed. It juxtaposes Bitter’s personal journey with the disintegration of his birth country, viewed from afar. While Venezuelans protest and line up for eight or more hours for staples like cooking oil, eggs, or flour... Bitter buys fresh avocados for a theatre piece that is subsidized by a government that supports his voice.
The Venezuelan Crisis
Venezuela currently faces 2,500,000% inflation, forcing 87% of the population into poverty and 3 million to flee. The Venezuelan dictatorship does not recognize the crisis as such, forming a sphere of social control under the optimistic umbrella of “Chavismo” socialism. The crisis continues to evolve as Juan Guadio steps in as interim president and the two vie for control of the country.
Our team is committed to contributing to the people actively working to help Venezuelans in this crisis. For the run of CHICHO at Theatre Passe Muraille, we collected over $5300 for Venezolanos Por La Vida— an organization that coordinates, collects and safely sends medical and surgical supplies and medicines to health service providers and Human Rights Organization across Venezuela and neighbouring countries. Collecting donations is built in to the show’s structure, and we will continue to raise funds throughout our tour.
CHICHO was first developed in-residence and presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and Pencil Kit Productions with support from Aluna Theatre in March 2019. The project would not be possible without the support of Diaspora Dialogues, Factory Theatre, and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. CHICHO has been written and presented with support by the Ontario Arts council, the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto, and the Canadian Council for the Arts.
Photography by Dahlia Katz
Print materials designed by Brendan Peters. Photos by Tanja Tiziana. Video by Hoffworks.
Photography by Tanja Tiziana (left) and Graham Isador (center, right),
Augusto Bitter receives 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual, as well as receiving a nomination for Outstanding New Play. “Rising Venezuelan-Canadian star Augusto Bitter took the outstanding-performance prize for his pizzazz in his one-hander about language, sexuality and identity, Chicho.” - Globe and Mail.
“Bitter’s capacity to create community through audience interaction and the sheer force of his charisma is remarkable” Toronto Star Review.
“With solo show CHICHO, Augusto Bitter brings both himself and Venezuela to the forefront” Toronto Star Preview/Interview.
“Bitter is a marvel … a performer of unforgettable charisma and versatility” NOW Magazine.
“With masterful precision that keeps it grounded and on point, CHICHO still feels celebratory and anarchic. It’s a real treat that wears its humanitarian heart proudly on its sleeve.” Mooney on Theatre.
“Meticulously conceived … Engaging, compelling, fascinating – all these things are Chicho, and the show is not to be missed.” Paula Citron
“A must-see … up close and personal is an understatement.” Drew Rowsome
“[A] wide-ranging tour de force” Valley Advocate
“I marvelled at this performer’s energy and wondered how he maintains this octane fuelled stamina and drive.” Joe Szekeres
"Up-and-coming actor on making it in show business" (University of Toronto: Faculty of Arts & Science Alumni News)
March 2019 - Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. Videography and editing by The Edisons Media Masters.