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Island University Theatre Offers Insight into Undocumented Immigration With ‘¿De Donde?’

October 04, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In a heartfelt push to humanize the struggles of undocumented immigrants, the production of “¿De Donde?” marks the beginning of this season of plays performed by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “¿De Donde?” brings to life individual stories of undocumented immigrants fleeing poverty and oppression only to be met with hostility and bureaucracy in the United States. The title of the play is freely translated into “Where Are You From?”

Performances of “¿De Donde?” will be held at the Wilson Theatre, located in the Center for Arts from Tuesday, Oct. 17, to Sunday, Oct. 22. The play will run at 7:30 p.m. each night, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. This play is directed by J. Don Luna, Professor of Theatre at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, whose says his plays often deal with societal issues and current events.  

“We chose ‘¿De Donde?’ because it concerns itself with the immigration issues of the border wall, DACA, our immigration policy as a nation and the way some vilify the Mexican people,” said Professor Luna. “I hope the audience looks at the plight of the people and realize the immigrants want the same things they do. That’s what theatre can do. Theatre can give a very visceral and emotional connection.”

Charles Ray Luna, a junior theatre major with a focus in acting and directing, plays Alirio, a teenage political asylum detainee who is seeking admission in the United States.

“The hope is that – through all the hard work that every single person is doing on stage and backstage – we bring the audience into an immersed experience,” said Charles Luna.

Ash Nicole Patterson, a sophomore theatre major with a focus in acting and directing, plays Lynne, a defense attorney for immigration law who is arguing Alirio’s case.

“Every moment of the play is dynamic and brilliant in its own way,” said Patterson. “It’s hard to pick a favorite part, because you see all the effort going into the stories and how well people are connecting with their roles.”

Professor Luna hinted at an interactive experience.

“We’re doing things that will challenge the audience – things that will alienate them sometimes and make them think other times,” said Professor Luna. “Some of the audience will be in a cage, while others will be looking through a fence at the action on stage.”

The community is invited to attend “¿De Donde?” and experience the play for themselves. Ticket prices range from $10 for general admission, $7 for students and $5 for Islander Students with a valid SandDollar$ ID at the door.

“I’m very excited to produce this play at this point in history,” said Professor Luna. “I wish that I could do more. As an artist, we do what we can and our voice is who we are.”

To purchase tickets, click here