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.”