Alibi V.23 No.45 • Nov 6-12, 2014 

Theater Preview

In Search of Voices for the Voiceless

From left to right: Juliana Gorena (plays Rosita), Joel Garcia  (plays Luis), Sonya Tijerina (plays Cecilia), Michelle Perez (plays Ana), Roberto Morales (plays El Duende)
From left to right: Juliana Gorena (plays Rosita), Joel Garcia (plays Luis), Sonya Tijerina (plays Cecilia), Michelle Perez (plays Ana), Roberto Morales (plays El Duende)
photos by Adolphe Pierre-Louis
If the recent surge of unaccompanied minors traveling from Central America to the US seems like a grim basis for a fairy tale, then think back to the Grimm ones of your childhood. Remember Hansel and Gretel? It’s the one where two children are abandoned in the woods by their stepmother, lured into the house of an elderly cannibal woman through the use of candy and then compelled to dispose of her in a finale gruesome enough to make Stephen King’s Misery look like a quirky rom-com.

The upcoming play ¡Bocón! by Lisa Loomer preserves the darker elements of the current events source material and then mixes in humor and magical realism to create a fairy tale for our modern age.

After witnessing the arrest of his parents, 12-year-old Miguel loses his voice and is given $100 by a neighbor to flee to America where he’ll be safe from the local soldiers.

On the way he encounters dangers, obstacles and improbable allies such as La Llorona, the mythical ghost who killed her own children and now haunts the living. But there’s a new twist on the old legend: Her purpose here is to scare kids into staying safely in their homes, away from the soldiers of the repressive military regimes. “She becomes this fairy godmother who helps Miguel with the journey,” says director Rebeca Mayorga.

This production of ¡Bocón! (which means “big mouth” or “nonconformist”) is put on by Working Classroom, a community outreach organization that gives children from historically ignored communities rigorous training in theater and the visual arts, as well as providing educational assistance and help with college admissions.

Sonya Tijerina as La Llorona
Sonya Tijerina as La Llorona
Mayorga is herself an alumnus of Working Classroom and now helms her own theater company in Spain where she’s lived for the past six years. Returning periodically is a way of giving back to the organization she credits with inspiring her.

The actors in this production range from ages 12 to 23.

While acknowledging that the mainstream media tends to focus on what to do with all the children who’ve arrived, Mayorga’s emphasis is on the other less visible half of the story. “I think this play challenges the audience to think ... why are these children fleeing their home country? How bad is their situation that they’re willing to risk their lives to come here?”

The show runs at Paul Carpenter y Salazar Theater (423 Atlantic SW) from Nov. 7-16, at 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays. Tickets are $10, except for opening night, which has a reception beginning at 6pm, and Nov. 15, which has a special Burgers n’ Brew beginning at 6pm as well. Those performances are $25.

Come see Miguel’s search to regain his lost voice—and the budding young voices who are telling his story.

¡Bocón!

Runs Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 16
Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, Sundays at 3pm

Paul Carpenter y Salazar Theater
423 Atlantic SW
Tickets: $10, except Bocadillos n’ Brew on Nov. 7 and Burgers n’ Brew on Nov. 15 ($25)
workingclassroom.org, 710-1994
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