Nov 20, 2019
The Department of Theatre, Film & Dance presents the Humboldt County premiere of “Dreamers: Aquí y Allá” by Andrea Caban beginning Friday, Dec. 6. The production at HSU marks only the third time the play has been presented to audiences.
Alejandro Torres as Francisco, Wendy Carranza as Ximena Jimenez, Victor Parra as Mateo.The play, first produced at CSU Long Beach in 2018, was presented as a collaboration between Caban and students as well as material provided by Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos and the California-Mexico Studies Center. The play was also produced at CSU Bakersfield where it was described as “an eye-opening experience that everyone needs to have.”
“Dreamers” features stories and characters based on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients who got to travel to Mexico to visit family and reconnect with their roots. The people at the heart of this play are Americans who have suddenly found themselves vulnerable to expulsion, job loss, and deportation. “Dreamers” features testimonials from students in the California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program, as well as interviews from DACA students and community members. These powerful stories of personal struggle invite the question: Who gets to dream the American Dream?
Young undocumented immigrants have been called “Dreamers” since the first version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was introduced in 2001. Various versions of this bill have been proposed for the last 18 years but none have become law. DACA has provided a pathway for children and young adults who came to the United States with their parents to legally obtain a Social Security Number and driver’s license, enroll in college, and work. The Trump administration announced the rescinding of DACA in 2017.
The production is directed by Amy Beltrán and Andrea Carillo, recent graduates of the HSU Theatre Program, and Department of Theatre, Film & Dance Assistant Professor Troy Lescher.
“‘Dreamers: Aquí y Allá’ has to be shared,” Lescher says. “There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S., including DACA recipients on our HSU campus, whose lives are in perpetual flux. They don’t know what tomorrow holds for them. Immigration reform remains at the forefront of the national debate. The play opens a door for DACA recipients to be able to tell their own stories through a myriad of voices—to speak rather than to be spoken for or about; to be seen rather than portrayed. As a sharing of experiences, it also offers audiences opportunities to listen, to engage in dialogue centered on the complexity and diversity of the stories. ‘Dreamers’ examines a lot of themes including family, home, identity, disillusionment, fear, bravery, and empowerment. At its core, ‘Dreamers’ is about power, privilege, hope, action, and possibility, for individuals and communities.”
In addition to the play, there will be several post-performance discussions and lectures for audience members. On Friday, Dec. 6, representatives from HSU’s Scholars Without Borders and Centro Del Pueblo will discuss DACA-related initiatives, support, and advocacy. On Dec. 12, 13 and 14, Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos (of CSU Long Beach and of The California-Mexico Studies Center) will present a 30-minute lecture entitled “Dreamers 2020: What’s Next?” There will also be a Q&A;session.
The production includes 11 ensemble members. Scenic design is by Assistant Professor Patrick Ulrich, lighting design by Calder Johnson, costume design by Amelia Resendez and Zackary Tucker, sound design by Brenna Jared and Robert Williams, properties design by Rebecca Quinones, and hair and make-up design by Kimberly Vazquez. The production will be stage managed by Rosemary Allison-Brown.
“Dreamers: Aquí y Allá” opens Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gist Hall Theatre and continues Dec. 7, 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 p.m. There will be one matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. General admission is $10, student and senior admission is $8. Recommended for young adults and older. Lot parking is free on Friday nights and weekends. For tickets, visit the Center Arts website or call 707-826-3928. For more information, call 707-826-3566.
Note: This story was originally published Nov. 17, 2019.