BWW Review: 1070 at Herberger Theater Center

BWW Review: 1070 at Herberger Theater CenterIn the New Carpa Theater production of 1070: WE WERE ONCE STRANGERS TOO, director-playwright James Garcia focuses on an immigrant Mexican family caught in the (sometime literal) crosshairs of Arizona Senate Bill 1070.

In 2010, Arizona lawmakers passed and then-Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070. This bill empowered law enforcement officers to stop, detain or arrest individuals suspected of being (or anyone sheltering, hiring or transporting) unregistered aliens.

Garcia says of his characters, "A lot of the names are 'echos' of names...but it's not a documentary." His governor is called Stewart (Sandra Williams) not Brewer, but Sen. King does resemble Russell Pearce, and Sheriff Romano could easily be mistaken for Joe Arapaio (Jeffrey Middleton plays both roles).

Putting a brave face on the Avila family is undocumented daughter Dulce (a very promising Anna Flores). We see what she sees, feel what she feels, as she becomes an activist for civil rights -- rights that many other nationalities have fought for too.

When protestors chant "Todos somos iguales" (We are all equal), we should be reminded that nearly 25 million Europeans migrated to America after 1880 -- a mere 32 years after Mexico ceded most of what would become Arizona.

Dulce's mother (Sonia Rodriguez), father (Juan Gomez), sister (Valerie German) and brother (Angel Lopez) are well cast and each plays a key role in the family dynamic.

Co-director Alejandro Sanchez Vega does an outstanding job as the rogue deputy. His scenes with younger sister Viri and then her family are raw and disturbing.

In addition to thanking his cast and crew, Garcia acknowledged Herberger Theater Center CEO Mark Mettes for helping mount 1070 in time for the National Council of La Raza national conference in July. NCLR had organized a boycott of Arizona in 2010.

"We can't just say (that) we want a broader audience without reasons for people to come," added Mettes. "So, it seemed like a great collaboration."

1070 runs through July 2 on the Kax Stage and from July 7-9 on Stage West. Tickets are available at www.herbergertheater.org/calendar/1070.


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From This Author Lee Cooley

Lee Cooley Lee Cooley started freelancing as a film critic in 1978 and began reviewing plays in 2011. After more than 20 years in TV, radio and (read more...)

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