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Papeles! Do You Have What It Takes To Be The Next American?

Immersive Theater Came to Ukiah!

Papeles! (Papers!) is an audience participation theater experience based on the stories of immigrants with a cast and crew of over fifty people directed by Carlos Jacinto. Playwright Andrew Kircher says, “The goal of Papeles is to bring community members into SPACE Theater who will come to see the building as home, themselves as artists and their stories as heroic.”

Papeles happened on Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15 from 6 – 8:30 p.m., admission was free, thanks to the generous support of The James Irvine Foundation and the production sponsorship of Mendocino Bridal and Tux. Tickets are available only at the SPACE box office.

Don’t be left out of this community theater experience. Beginning every ten minutes, the Papeles team will lead a small group of audience members through a pop-up immigration processing center and your own Green Card interview. Lose your name, become a number, and witness, interact, and experience the immigrant’s story firsthand.

When exiting the theater, audience members are invited to join an ongoing meal—eat, enjoy live music, and share their immigration stories and questions.

Since SPACE began the grant-funded Dream Act Performance Project (DAPP) in 2013, changes in government regulations have created a more friendly environment for those seeking documentation. Local community members are bravely sharing their stories and creating art despite the forces which have marginalized their voices. Working together we are taking an imaginative leap toward change.

As a community and a country we are struggling with “the issue of immigration.” However, in our daily lives, there is no “issue.” There are our friends, neighbors, students and family members who cannot get a driver’s license, apply for a job, go to the doctor, fight an unlawful eviction, or visit their family in Mexico because they do not have papeles — papers.

Why do immigrants cross the border without documents? Because for most Mexicans and Central Americans there is no legal path. How is an undocumented person vulnerable in our society?   How can undocumented immigrants realize their dream of educational, economic and social opportunity? These and many other questions are explored in Papeles.

Project Director Carlos Jacinto says, “This has been an important community project with over 30 people being interviewed about their path to documentation. Many of the local stories have been included in the script.” Carlos, a Ukiah native and son of a Mexican immigrant farm worker family, has used his experiences of growing up in two worlds to unite communities for the past 25 years. He is the founder and consultant for The Four Treasures cultural approach to prevention and intervention workshops. He is a full time program specialist for Mendocino County Department of Social Services. In 2014 he conceived and directed Sin Palabras at SPACE Theater.

Andrew Kircher, scriptwriter and consultant, and also a Ukiah native, shares, “This type of theater, often called immersive theater, is certainly not new, but is seeing a huge resurgence, and has great potential for inclusion and accessibility.” Andrew is the Associate Producer with the Devised Theater Initiative/Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater in New York City. He is a PhD candidate at the City University of New York Graduate Center—with a focus on intellectual property and contemporary theater—and teaches in the Brooklyn College Performance and Interactive Media Arts MFA program.  He is a representative for the Latina/o Focus Group with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Read an article of Papeles that was published on Ukiah Daily Journal.