El Dia de los Muertos takes on a life of its own as“Dolores” takes to the stage to bring the dead to life in El Paso KIDS-N-CO.’S next show.
KIDS-N-CO.’s bilingual production of “Dolores,” was written by local playwrights Lluvia Almanza & Orlando Rodriguez. Directed by Eurydice Saucedo, Dolores is a timeless story of family and hope during the Day of the Dead.
Jose Luis is a young boy who lost his sister, Dolores, at avery young age. Although he has had the support of his parents, he has not really been able to cope with losing someone he loved so much.
As his family prepares to honor her on Dia de los Muertos, he bumps into an old friend, Juan.
The thing is, Juan has been dead for quite some time now. With the help of Juan, Jose Luis embarks on an adventure to be able to see his sister again, but soon realizes that the world of the living and the world of the dead cannot exist together.
“Dolores” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 21, 27, 28 and Nov. 3 & 4; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 29, and Nov. 4, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison.
Tickets are $7 for adults, and $5 for children, students, senior citizens and military.
Dolores Huerta is synonymous with Mexican/Mexican American history in the United States; and to know her story, is to know a piece of our own cultural identity.
I have been fortunate enough to have met the civil rights activist, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, on a couple of occasions and each time I find myself completely enveloped by her magnetic presence.
This was the case when I sat down with the icon herself for our interview.
“Don’t I know you, you look familiar” she says.
(Oh my God, Dolores Huerta actually recognizes me! I could barely contain my excitement!)
I maintained my professional decorum and reminded her of where and when we last saw each other, we laugh together over that private moment and instantly I feel at ease sitting with the living legend.
I thanked her first and foremost, for visiting us in the Sun City and she replied, “Oh are you kidding me, I love El Paso, my grandmother was born in Las Cruces, I have a lot of family in the area.”
So make no mistake folks, Dolores (having also been born in New Mexico) is a fellow sister of the Southwest.
We had so much to discuss and such a short amount of time. I know she is often asked the same questions, so I wanted my time with her to be a little different, I wanted to pull from her wisdom and strength knowing that because of her (and women like her) who fought during the Women’s Movement of the 60’s, our generation now has many of the rights and freedoms that they didn’t have.
Q: How can we, this next generation of activist, take it to the next level, honoring the path the women before us have paved?
Huerta: You know I think it’s already happening. I travel all over the country and since the election I’ve seen young women that are upset, angry, and ready to fight, they are stepping up and all over I see them running for office…and winning! That’s really what it’s going to take.We are now what, in October? And look at what we have done, we have stopped a lot of really terrible things from happening, and that has all been through the efforts of young people and women, calling their senators, congressmen; organizing, marching, we have influenced change. So we see that it works, we just gotta keep doing more of that.
Q: One of the common things that I have encountered are folks that are repentant of not voting or not having done more, what can you tell that person that maybe didn’t care and now really cares?
Huerta: What I tell everyone is, the people that we elect, making decisions that affect our lives every single day, even the way they spend our tax dollars, they are the ones that decide where our money is going to go – whether it goes to schools, or for jails, or whether it goes into the pockets of the greedy; and we can prevent that, it’s really easy, by voting. Not everyone is going to be ready to go out and fight but start small, if you care about school systems, look into the education board votes, start there. For me it was calling, I knew I wanted to fight the social injustice happening to the farm workers. The point is to engage, on any and every level, big or small.
My introduction to Dolores began a long time ago. I have always given credit to the amazing professors from UTEP (Dr. Meredith Abarca, Dr. Yolanda Leyva, Dr. Lee Ann Westman, to name a few) who taught/teach ‘special topics’ and awoke my social consciousness back in 2006.
Since then, throughout my life and career, I have carried their teachings and anyone who knows my professional background can attest that (they) truly impacted the direction of my life.
It would during this period that I would first hear the name, Dolores Huerta.
The film, DOLORES, focuses on what history has left out. As is the tradition with many notable women, their place is often written out of the textbooks, often being left in the shadows of a male counterpart.
We see this time and time again, so much so, that the term ‘Herstory’ was created to honor the contributions of women who have been erased or overshadowed. For those of us that are social justice warriors, we know exactly what Dolores means to the movement.
Even if you think you don’t who she is, maybe you have heard her famous catch phrase, “sí se puede,” then yes, you have heard of Dolores Huerta.
Watching the film the other day – now that I have lived a little longer, as a woman (of color) in the world, now living in a Trump era – I have a completely new level of profound respect and admiration for all that Dolores has done for us.
I acknowledged and respected her role before, but I don’t think I fully grasped it, on a personal level.
Now as I have sat in board meetings and had my voice “ssh” by male colleagues, at times having to fight for my place as the only female, or working towards a common goal, having my ideas applauded yet watching my male boss/colleagues get all the credit…I understand Dolores a little more.
Now feeling guilt for not having had children and thinking maybe I have been selfish and “too” dedicated to my career; yet watching Dolores’ 11 children talk on screen at how painful it was (at the time) not being able to always have her around, sharing her with the world, the sacrifice that not only she, but her children also made, to the movement…I understand Dolores a little more.
Now that I have worked on a presidential campaign, having fought so hard for my community, standing on the right side of justice, yet facing an uphill battle…I understand Dolores a little more.
I found myself tearing up at different points during the film, it was so poignant, relatable, filled with herstory, the struggle of our people, yet at the same time giving me great hope of what we can accomplish by working together.
Q: At 87 (and a half, as she corrected me) Dolores is still full of energy, fight and vigor. I asked her what keeps her so focused and motivated?
Huerta: Because we have so many more people to meet, so many people to organize, so many obstacles we still have to overcome. We have to support candidates that will reflect the voice of the people. We have the power to elect, we need make sure we are campaigning for and electing those that will reflect the needs of our community. The power is in our hands.
Q: I compare the UFW grape boycott to what we are facing now, to go up against the grape growers who had the backing of the government, meanwhile the UFW was fighting for the rights of the people in the fields, it must have seemed impossible, were there moments you had doubts that you would win?
Huerta: Never. We always knew we would win, because we weren’t going to ever give up. It was just a matter of time. You can’t give up, that’s the only thing, if you give up then you aren’t going to win.
Even now, I know we are going to win against this administration. That’s why I am doing all this, going all across the country, so I can tell people, get inspiration from this film, engage, go out there and get people to vote.
Q: Will we see a female president?
Huerta: Absolutely. It will happen.
We talked a little more, I asked her some random questions as well, favorite show, music etc…but as we wrapped up, it was her response to my final question that encompasses exactly what Dolores Huerta is all about.
Q: Do you realize that you are an icon, has that reality set in over the years, or is everyday still like any other day?
Huerta: It’s like my son says, it’s not about being an “icon” it’s about “I CAN!” It’s about the people and together, we can. Sí se puede.
After you see the new film about her life, hear directly from civil rights pioneer Dolores Huerta live and in-person at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo.
In conjunction with PBS Distribution, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo is proud to welcome Huerta for special Q&A sessions after the screenings on Sunday, October 15 at 2:15pm and 6:30pm and Monday, October 16 at 7pm at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo.
Tickets for these special screenings can be purchased here.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo will open regular screenings of DOLORES beginning Friday, October 13 for a one-week-only engagement. Tickets for DOLORES screenings are available here.
Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with César Chávez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized.
Huerta tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chávez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.
With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film, directed by Peter Bratt, reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change.
In 2012, President Obama bestowed Huerta with her most prestigious award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo is located at 250 East Montecillo Blvd., just off Mesa in West El Paso.
El Paso’s own KIDS-N-CO are gearing up for a busy Fall Season as registration for acting classes will continue September 16, and auditions for their upcoming show “Dolores” start September 17th.
Kids N Co. officials say, “Acting classes are a great way to get kids introduced to theater if they’re new, and if they already have acting experience, it’s a great way to hone and improve those skills.”
Taught by well-known theater director, actress and teacher Vanessa Keyser, classes are from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays through November 18, on the campus of First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. Tuition is $180 and classes are geared toward kids ages 5-15.
Acting classes are taught based on experience and level, not age group. Through the use of monologues, duet scenes, and group scenes, teachers will work to build each student up to the next level based on their individual needs.
Each student will be required to memorize lines and participate in every class, so attendance is important.
At the end of the ten-week session, students will show what they learned during a showcase for parents and family with the pieces students learned.
As for their upcoming show, both adults and kids welcome to audition for KIDS-N-CO.’s bilingual production of “Dolores,” written by Lluvia Almanza & Orlando Rodriguez. Eurydice Saucedo directs the show.
Jose Luis is a young boy who lost his sister, Dolores, at a very young age. Although he has had the support of his parents, he has not really been able to cope with losing someone he loved so much.
As his family prepares to honor her on Dia de los Muertos, he bumps into an old friend, Juan. The thing is, Juan has been dead for quite some time now. With the help of Juan, Jose Luis embarks on an adventure to be able to see his sister again, but soon realizes that the world of the living and the world of the dead cannot exist together.
All ages encouraged to audition. Roles available range from 17-year-old Dolores, Mom, Dad, Security Guards, dead relatives and “La Catrina.”
Auditions will include cold readings from the script, and some improvisations. Auditions are at 6:30 p.m., September 17 and 18, on the campus of First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison.