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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Irene Diaz has a modern pop take on the jazz torch-song tradition. She sat down with Larry London on this edition of "Border Crossings" to perform and talk about her music.