Dreams Without Borders
“My God! Don’t let them return me to my country, how can I return with my hands empty?”
At the Lancaster Detention Center, immigrants are held as they await word on their fate in the United States. Over a 24-hour period, marked by a clock that counts down the hours and a sporadic call of a disembodied voice, the characters recall their journeys across the border and the events that unfolded as they started a new life away from their homeland.
Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras makes common cause with Santa Rosa’s the Imaginists
Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras / Day Labor Theater Without Borders and The Imaginists were awarded a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) to engage in a week long exchange, June 16 — 22, 2013.
Alternative ROOTS Conference 2012
From August 7-12, 2012, Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras was thrilled to be a part of the Alternate Roots 36th Annual Artists Retreat, held at the Lutheridge Conference Center in Arden, NC. The Alternate Roots Artists Retreat and Annual Meeting is a unique gathering in the field of community-based art-making, and has become known as a seminal annual event for many theater practitioners. This weeklong conference combines performance, studios, late night cabarets, visual arts installations, business meetings, networking opportunities and open space dialogues in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.
Teatro Jornalero Program Director Lorena Moran and Artist Angel Gutierrez performed a new short play as part of the retreat activities. Titled El Infierno (The Hell), this play tells the story of two people crossing a vast expanse of desert in order to start a new life in the United States. Strangers at the beginning, the two travelers come together through this grueling experience, and talk about their fears, hopes and the realities they face while making this journey.
After the performance, they held a critical response session and received the following feedback:
“This was the first time in 36 years of Alternate Roots conferences that there has been a performance in Spanish with English scripts that allowed the audience that did not speak the language to be familiar with the topic presented.”
“Mentioning food, water, immigrants, violence, hunger, and the lack of opportunities was very impactful because it represented the reality of why people emigrate to the US.”
“You should take this play to different parts of the US where the problems immigrants face are unknown.”
Teatro Jornalero are currently making plans to tour the performance of “El Infierno” to more locations, included several groups that they made contact with while at the Alternate Roots conference.
Somos Parte de la Democracia?
Culture, Democracy, and LA’s Day Labor Community
What does democracy mean? What did you think about democracy before coming to the US – and what do you think now? How are immigrants viewed in our democracy and what is the role of immigrants in a democracy?
As part of this year-long project, Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras (TJSF) asked the day labor community to share their diverse viewpoints on democracy and participation in US society.
Many thanks to Dr. Maribel Alvarez, Assistant Research Professor in the English Department and Research Social Scientist at the Southwest Center, University of Arizona, who helped us launch this project with a day-long training in conducting interviews, and summed up our project with a beautiful essay – Download Essay
The thoughts day laborers shared with us about democracy, heard in interviews TJSF conducted, put a personal face on the experience of democracy within the immigrant communities of Los Angeles.
Based on our own members’ experiences, TJSF wrote and toured a play, Todos Queremos Vivir en Democracia/Everyone Wants To Live in A Democracy, which takes viewers into day laborers’ daily experiences and the “mind” of the democratic process, the court system.
Watch some of the video interviews with Los Angeles day laborers:
Watch clips from Todos Queremos Vivir en Democracia:
This project was made possible in part by a grant from California Stories Fund of the California Council for the Humanities (Cal Humanities).
Special thanks to CARECEN, IDEPSCA, and Dr. Maribel Alvarez.
Summer Tour 2012
From June 19th to July 2nd, 2012, Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras embarked on a tour throughout work centers in Los Angeles County. After 3 months of rehearsal, the tour was performed at 9 locations for a combined audience of 340. The tour was a huge success and featured 2 brand new short plays:
A NOT SO HAPPY RETURN
A man is deported back to his home country but when he arrives at his old farm doesn’t want his ranch hand to find out. Upon his return he starts to ask his ranch hand to give him updates on the farm business. As the play develops, he comes to find that his farm has been falling apart since he left for the United States. The play ends with a series of surprises that reveal how much can change when one stays away and how finally an intolerable situation can turn out not to be so bad.
DREAMS WITHOUT BORDERS
This piece explores everything that is left behind in the search for an uncertain future, the cruelty of human traffickers, and the role they play. A dramatic representation of the journeys immigrants make as they traverse various countries en route to their final destination in the USA, this piece is an exploration of thwarted dreams, deportation, and family separation.
JUN 19 – Cypress Park Community Job Center
JUN 20 – Pasadena Community Job Center
JUN 22 – Hollywood Community Job Center
JUN 25 – Van Nuys Day Labor Center
JUN 26 – Carecen Day Labor Center
JUN 27 – Malibu Community Labor Exchange
JUN 28 – Downtown Community Job Center
JUN 29 – Harbor City Day Laborer Site
JUL 02 – North Hollywood Day Labor Site
THANK YOU TO OUR FUNDERS:
Open Society Foundations
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
Network of Ensemble Theaters
California Council for the Humanities
Peace Development Fund
Building Healthy Communities-Long Beach, CA.
Pastorela Navideña Tour 2011
Written & Directed by Juan Jose Mangandi, Assistant Directed by Lorena Moran
TJSF performed their Pastorela Tour 2011, Una Navidad Entre Dos Mundos/A Christmas Between Two Worlds, the mornings of December 12-16 and December 19-23, 2011, at nine day labor programs in the Los Angeles area (Pasadena, Cypress Park, Shatto Place, Hollywood, West LA, Downtown, Van Nuys, Malibu, and North Hollywood) – reaching over 500 day laborers and other community members. Each performance showcased two projects.
Una Navidad Entre Dos Mundo is TJSF’s most recent play. A non-traditional version of a traditional Christmas pageant, the play portrays the cultural shock that immigrants in the US experience, told through the eyes of mythological and Greek characters, Roman heroes, the Devil, Death, Maria, and Jose. A mix of artistic surrealism and day-to-day reality, the characters await the arrival of Dios, a new life where there will be no conflict between the rich and poor, or between people of different races and ethnicities.
TJSF also premiered a video about Cruzando Fronteras/Crossing Borders, in San Julian, ElSalvador. In August 2011 members of Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras and Cornerstone Theater Company were guests of the Cultural Arts Committee of the municipality of San Julian, an agricultural area torn by violence and poverty. Many adults from the community migrate to Los Angeles for work. The theater workshop TJSF facilitated enabled twenty young people to translate their personal experience of these issues into theatrical form. Their play Sueño Inconcluso/Unfinished Dream tells the story of a San Julian family that is torn apart when the father feels he must pursue the “American dream.”
Thanks to IDEPSCA and CARECEN for their support and for facilitating performances at each of their day labor centers.