Los Angeles Times: Visitor's Guide to Arivaca
(Note: Please see Censored News for the real Tohono O'odham, Mike Wilson, portrayed in the theater production. Wison puts out water for migrants:
Los Angeles Times:
Theater review: 'Visitors' Guide to Arivaca' at Company of Angels
September 17, 2009 2:40 pm
"Visitors' Guide to Arivaca" derives as much from factually informed intent as rampant topicality. Evangeline Ordaz's heartfelt, much-researched response to the immigration debate operates from a decidedly populist perspective.
Commissioned by Borderlands Theatre in Tucson, Ariz., the action transpires around Arivaca, located on the southern Arizona border. It's a targeted entry point for Valente (appealing Justin Huen), a migrant worker who has seen his wife Linda (the touching Marissa Garcia) roughly six months out of their two-year marriage. This time, Linda refuses to wait out the uncertainty until Val returns and takes off with him.
Their perilous trek, hindered by coyote Jacinto (Richard Azurdia), forms one thread in Ordaz's sprawling plot. Another storyline concerns beleaguered rancher Iris (Kathleen Coyne). After a fleeing illegal goes into seizures on her property, Iris' humanitarian actions land her in federal lockup. Here, she meets Big John (Tony Gatto), an itinerant vigilante from Oklahoma, who represents yet another aspect of this daunting national dilemma. As does George (Andrew Roa), defying his Tohono O'odham tribe by setting up water stations. And there are still more characters and issues.
Director Armando Molina oversees some striking designs, particularly Bosco Flanagan's evocative lighting. If his large cast varies in polish, their uniform commitment recalls many Cornerstone Theatre projects over the years.
That goes double for Ordaz's script, though it overloads on pamphleteering and statistical explanations, and could benefit from trims. But if "Visitors' Guide" seems most rewardingly destined for the national academic/community events circuit, its worth is self-evident.
--David C. Nichols
"Visitors' Guide to Arivaca," Company of Angels at the Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., L.A. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 4. $20. (323) 883-1717 (323) 883-1717. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Photo: from left: Marissa Garcia, Tony Gatto and Tina Sanchez in "Visitors' Guide to Arivaca' Credit: Company of Angels
Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham
Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham who puts out water for migrants on Tohono O'odham land, against the wishes of the tribal government, responds to the ACLU opposing a migrant prison in Tohono O'odham's San Xavier District. He also tells how the Tohono O'odham Nation governmetn is opposing humanitarian aid to dying migrants:
Mike Wilson: "What a victory for those of us opposed to the detention facility. I still don't want the facility on O'odham land anywhere! It's one blood stained injustice heaped upon another. First, the Tohono O'odham tribal Government is vehemently opposed to allowing humanitarian aid on tribal lands.
Second, tribal authorities have authorized the removal of my water stations from Baboquivari and Schuck Toac Districts.
Third, and now the Tohono O'odham Nation is seeking to maximize a profit on the backs of destitute migrants, many who are Indigenous People from Southern Mexico and Guatemala. The Nation is anxious to take blood money from the Department of Homeland Security. Shamefully, we who were once oppressed are now the willing oppressors. (No More Deaths (NMD) press conference was held to protest the conviction in federal court of one of their volunteers, Walt Stanton, for "knowingly littering" on federal land.) I was asked by NMD to be the last presenter and I agreed.
The reality is that as tribal members of the Tohono O'odham Nation David Garcia and I are now vulnerable to arrest and conviction for doing the same thing on Tohono O'odham tribal lands. The legal precedent has now been irreversibly set for federal prosecution of humanitarian volunteers, like us, for knowing placing gallons of water for migrants in distress on any federal properties, inclusive of Native American reservations.
The truth is, despite our mythical notions of "sovereignty," reservations are first, foremost and manifestly, Federal Properties managed by the Department of Interior and it's agent, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Thanks, Mike Wilson