What it's about.
An undocumented mother and her American daughter embark on a cross country road trip, where they meet eccentric characters, dark truths are revealed, and their relationship is put to the test.
BRB, I have to go get a tissue.
Okay, this is it. It's happening. The show is about to start and I don’t think I’m ready for what’s about to happen.
I am a Lioness, I am a warrior.
Behold! Daphne Rubin-Vega in all her glory. She plays Beatriz, an undocumented Mexican mother who has a deportation hearing in a week. Her daughter, Olivia, is 16 years old. She hasn’t spoken to her daughter in four years, so when she comes to Philly to surprise her, Olivia doesn’t greet her with open arms. She is stubborn, and rightfully so.
Olivia has a blog (probs on Tumblr) called Castaways. She’s a literature nerd. Willie Shakes is like her lord and savior. Books are her way to see the world, and have become a sort of outlet for life. She lives with her dad, who btw, we never see on stage, but he seems to be like super laid back (in a bad way). And that contributes to Olivia's current state. Though her blog is anonymous, her mom finds it anyways. Because, I mean, come on it's common knowledge: Mothers have a sixth sense, and they know everything!! It's like brujeria (i.e. witchcraft - good or bad). Anyways, back to the blog, Beatriz is alarmed when she reads a post about her Olivia wanting to commit suicide. So now she’s here to bond with her kid.
And thus begins a whirlwind of a road trip, where they encounter eccentric people along the way, such as a cute old gay couple, Higgins and Mo, who are getting married in every state. Though Olivia is totes stubborn about this whole trip, in the end, she does come around. However, it takes seeing her mother getting arrested to do so. After calling her mom 'Beatriz' throughout the show, she finally calls her 'mom' for the first time, and BRB, I have to get another tissue. THIS SHOW REALLY PLAYED WITH MY EMOTIONS.
I cannot even begin to explain what a show of this magnitude meant to me. As a Latinx person, seeing other Latinx actors cast in leading roles #representing meant so much to me. Also, I found bits of my own life being projected into these characters: such as when Beatriz tries to cheer up Olivia and heal her heart by saying "Sana sana colita de rana." It was moments like these that brought me back to my abuela. But beyond my own personal connection, this is a story that is so poignant right now. DEPORTATION AND IMMIGRATION. I know this is something that effects a lot of people in my community, and seeing this story touched the depths of my soul. But even if your'e not of the Latinx community, this show still resonates, as it is about a human experience nonetheless. Thank you Quiara Alegría Hudes for writing this amazing story. Thank you Erin McKeown for the beautiful songs. You fierce women are my heroines.
11,000,000. That’s the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. That’s a huge a** number, and sometimes, one can lose sight of the fact that these are human beings we are talking about. They are not all criminal or rapists (*cough* *cough*). Homogenizing an entire group of people to fit one description antagonizes the group as a whole. The Latino Threat Narrative, as it were, is still sadly prevalent today. And Trump only adds fuel to that fire, as his voice is tragically the one that gets broadcasted the loudest.
Beatriz is an undocumented immigrant. The main thing that she will be deported for is being caught smoking pot 20 years ago with her AMERICAN boyfriend. It’s interesting to think what you can get away with when you are a citizen…
For undocumented immigrants, citizenship means protection. Citizenship means safety. Citizenship means no more anxiety about being deported. Citizenship means belonging. It means inclusion into the fabric of US society. It means a voice. This play made me think: what does it mean to be a citizen? Not in legal terms, but a citizen of the world. Beatriz is a citizen. But sadly, not in the eyes of the law.
After a whirlwind of events, Olivia and Beatriz rekindle their bond, and in the end, Beatriz gets sent away to Mexico. It's heartbreaking. But perhaps what made it even more heart wrenching was the fact that they were quite literally divided by a wall. Beatriz on one side of it and Olivia on the other side. The only thing that stood between them: the artificial construct of a border. A border, that 200 years ago was technically a part of MEXICO.
Let's just say I was a complete and utter mess at this point. OH MY GOD. I literally felt my heartbeat in my throat. And that was just as a mere onlooker of the events. To think: things like this are actually happening EVERY DAY. Just think about that.
Olivia and Beatriz meet alongside the border, in a place called Friendship Park, a place IRL. OH THE IRONY OF THE NAME. But yep, it's real. It's true. And it's happening. So while, the musical doesn’t end of a “happy” note, it does bring to light brutally something that is a reality for millions of families, and how they are being torn apart. It's heartbreaking and inhumane. And I'm just so #TRIGGERED!!! 😡😡😡
Below, you will find a documentary about Friendship Park. Be warned, it’s a real tear-jerker. But it is nonetheless important. The truth hurts. And this is what’s happening in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
However, it's not enough to just be upset. We have to do something about the problem and tackle it head on. #VOTE.
Peace out y'all. ✌️
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