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Immigration issues at heart of play

Mar 3, 2014 - From staff reports

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Central Wyoming College.

"No Roosters in the Desert," a play that follows the journey of four women crossing the Arizona desert from Mexico in search of a new life in the United States, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Central Wyoming College.

The play was written by Kara Hartzler, an immigration attorney and playwright. She based her characters on a composite of interviews with 130 migrant women.

The story follows the women as they cross the border and become lost in the desert.

"The play delivers a powerful message of survival and perseverance and challenges audiences to evaluate their own views on immigration," said director Luis Guerrero.

The cast consists of bilingual Latina actors who bring a "depth of personal experience to their roles," he added.

The company is collaborating with students from CWC and Riverton, Wind River, Fort Washakie and Wyoming Indian high schools to build scenic elements for the play. The students are asked to research the philosophical concept of borders and boundaries within the context of U.S. immigration history and interpret their findings artistically to produce 4- by 8-foot collage panels before the production, Guerrero said. He will spend a week in the classroom guiding the creative process to completion.

Following each performance, the audience will be invited to participate in a conversation with Guerrero, the cast and scholars. These talk-back sessions provide audiences with an opportunity to ask questions and share their stories about immigration.

"One of the primary goals of this project is to explore how storytelling can function as a bridge between cultures and spark community-wide conversations," Guerrero said.

When the show was performed in Jackson by the Riot Act Theatre Company in 2012, the post-show conversation included English and Spanish speakers.

"We hope that what we experienced in Jackson with this play can be duplicated in other communities around Wyoming," Guerrero said.

Tickets are $5 and are available at the CWC Box Office or at Mammoth Music.

The event is sponsored by CWC's Diversity Committee, Arts in Action and the Zócalo Arts Collective.

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