News / Arts & Entertainment

Latina Playwright Josefina Lopez Tells Immigrant Stories

Mike O'Sullivan

Immigrants are often caught between the cultures of their homeland and their adopted country. Mexican American playwright Josefina Lopez is showcasing the struggles of Latino immigrants through film, and through a community theater in Los Angeles. Our correspondent spoke with her about bringing those immigrant stories to the public.

Josefina Lopez speaks with actor Rene Rivera about his one-man play. Called The King of the Desert, it deals with his struggles growing up in a barrio, or ghetto, in Texas near the U.S. border with Mexico.

“My neighborhood is buzzing with conjunto music, a distinctly Tex-Mex sound," said Rivera.

This is the kind of story Lopez wants to put on stage at her community theater, called Casa 0101. Casa is Spanish for “home.” Zero-one-Zero-One refers to the digital bits and bytes of the information age.

She told an earlier immigrant story in Real Women Have Curves, an acclaimed play that became a successful film 10 years ago. Lopez coauthored the screenplay and America Ferrera starred in the film.

Woman in garment factory:
“Are you going to be working here full-time?”
Ferrera: “No. I'm just helping out my sister until I find a better job.”
Woman: “Oh, me too. I'm just working here until I win the lottery.”

Lopez says that story needed to be told.

“I wrote it because I had never seen anything about people like me, women my size," she said. "So to have so many people embrace Real Women Have Curves and to have a buzz and people waiting and the excitement, I was like, wow, it's speaking a truth that goes beyond being Latino or being a woman. It's about people always underestimating you.”

In his play being performed now at the theater, Rene Rivera looks at the difficulty navigating life between two cultures.

“It is the life of a Hispanic family living in the United States and yet not being part of the United States," said Rivera. "And so being sort of locked and stuck in between the two cultures, and trying to be reverent to both of them.”

It's opening night for the new production, and this play has a personal message for one Mexican-born immigrant, medical researcher Alonso Arellano.

“This is wonderful," said Arellano. "I want this to stay and to grow. We should have more theaters like this.”

Josefina Lopez says there are thousands of stories like this from the Latino community and other immigrant groups just waiting to be told.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.