In its recent 2018 roundup of the Best arts and culture experiences in the greater Orange County area, the OC Weekly named one of CSULB’s spring theatre productions “Best Play.” The original, devised work – created out of real experiences and shared stories from local students and their families – focused on the plight and resilience of immigrants eligible for the DACA program. It was also produced at CSU Bakersfield this fall.
Congrats to Professor Caban and the cast and creators of Dreamers: Aquí y Allá!
BEST PLAY: DREAMERS: AQUÍ Y ALLÁ
It’s rare that a new play—hell, any play—feels as relevant, poignant and important as this superlative effort. Presented by the Theatre Arts Department at California State University Long Beach, the piece was conceived by CSULB professor Andrea Caban with plenty of assistance from the actors whose story this truly was: some 30 Dreamers who participated in CSULB Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos’ California-Mexico study-abroad program. Though literally ripped from the headlines and suffused with an unmistakable call to action among voters to kick the racists out in the upcoming midterm elections, the play succeeded because it wasn’t noisy, tone-deaf agit-prop theater. Its agenda was a human one: to show that the so-called Dreamers, as with any group, are comprised of individuals with their own hopes, dreams, fears and stories. By focusing on those stories, the cast and other creators succeeded in telling one hugely important part of America’s collective story.