What happens to a community, and the people that live there, when a series of four intersecting freeways are built right through the heart of their neighborhood?
From the award-winning writer of Your Healing is Killing Me, blu, The Panza Monologues and Barrio Stories, Virginia Grise returns to Tucson with a new play about the destruction and displacement of a Mexican-American community, roaming dogs, quarantines, earthmovers and ancient voladores: Their Dogs Came with Them. Adapted from the novel by Helena María Viramontes, the play ascribes new meanings to gang life dramas, gender queer identities, and Chicana/o/x coming of age barrio tales. Much like the structure of a freeway, the lives of four youth intersect and intertwine, unearthing stories about the effects and aftereffects of the Vietnam War, displacement, and state violence. Tucson, where the most diverse and densely populated neighborhoods were destroyed to create the Convention Center in the late 1960s, is an ideal site for a play that asks its community to consider how decisions around city planning and urban development impact everyone. Borderlands Theater, in collaboration with a todo dar productions, is producing this site-specific performance October 18-20, directed by Marc David Pinate and aptly staged underneath the I-19 freeway in South Tucson.
Musical director Martha Gonzalez of the Grammy Award winning band Quetzal brings together band members Juan Perez (bass), Tylana Enomoto (violin) and legendary guitarist Bob Robles (Thee Midnighters) to perform an original score, specifically composed for the Tucson production, live at all performances. The musical score expresses the “East Los” sonic landscape of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The multifaceted sounds and songs of the score embody “East Los” history in an amalgamation of Mexican boleros, classic rock, doo-wop, R&B, and gospel. Like the 5, 10, and 710 freeways these sounds intersect in the heart of the Mexican American experience brought to life in Their Dogs Came with Them.
For funders and full announcement please click here.
For more information about the cast, crew, and creative team, click here.
Project director/shadow puppetry, Marc David Pinate
Media design, Adam Cooper-Terán
Giant puppet maker, Zarco Guerrero
Giant puppet director, Jonathan Heras
Community liaison/on-site producer, Cesar Lopez
A choose your own adventure site specific theatrical festival re-inhabits downtown Nogales with theatrical installations, large scale projections, music, based on oral histories from long time Ambos Nogales residents, and culminates with a couple alternating fronterizo bands.
The creative team is currently working with Nogalenses to create an authentic fronterizo experience. We’ll keep you posted on project updates.
Barrio Stories is a celebration of the history and heritage of Arizona’s historic Mexican-American neighborhoods. Conceived by Borderlands Theater in 2015, the project is an ongoing site-specific series intended to preserve and reflect the stories, people, and places that made these barrios so vital to the cultural fabric of the Southwest.