Mesa Theatre Company finishes year off with emotional performance

Megan Blacher, Staff Writer

“I am neither from here, ni de alla” is Mesa’s Theatre Company’s last work before the year ends. Immigration, identity, citizenship, race, and power are only some of the topics explored by the students through skits and personal stories.

“Entrance without paper is forbidden” was the prompt for this show, and although the actors have been working on this project for a month, it is still a work in progress. The performance consisted of three skits.

The first skit, “Marriage License,” displayed the many microaggressions and the prejudgments immigrants have to go through on a daily basis by showing a situation in which two persons from different ethnicities attempt to obtain their marriage license. “I want you,” was an imitation of a dating game, between Uncle Sam and foreigners who want to immigrate into the U.S. The last one, was “Intergalactic planetary border,” a skit that represented conversations between immigrants and officers.

In between each skit, a monologue was presented by a student who told their family’s immigration story. The first one was “He wants to go back home” by Eddie Olachea. “Let him stay”, was the second monologue by Denessa Cazares, a first-generation Mexican-American theatre student. Her story focused on her dad’s story, and how that affected her childhood, and all the questions that invaded her thoughts as a consequence of it.

When asked what she wanted the audience to learn from this, Cazares responded by explaining that she feels “like people just need to open up a little more and start listening a lot more.”She added that “there are people walking among you, that you don’t even know what they’ve gone through.”

“It sounds cheesy,” she said, “but you really don’t know their story. They could be refugees, they could be people seeking political asylum, they could be people that don’t even have papers but they just want an education because they know that’s what’s good for them,” she said.  

The last monologue, “I want to belong”, told the story of Enrique Arana and his family’s struggle to leave Venezuela due to the dictatorship. For Enrique, “being part of this project was hard but at the same time, it was comforting that theater is exploring this topic of immigration.” He added that it “made [him] feel welcomed.”

Sitting in the first row were Enrique’s parents, listening closely to their own story being told through their son. During, and after, Enrique’s monologue, the room was filled with tears and different emotions as a response to his and his family’s story.

“From my story I want people to know that there are issues around the world that people don’t really talk about or don’t know about,” he explained. “And that when I left my country I didn’t leave to leave my life… I left to not let the government take my life,” he clarified.

The performance was concluded with an open forum between the actors and the audience, allowing the audience to ask questions and begin a conversation between both parts about immigration.

The event was held at the Apolliad Theatre at Mesa College, on December 6 at 4 p.m. and  December 7 at 5 p.m.