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Latino Theater Company partners with Native Voices at the Autry to explore unique "Genizaro" history and culture in the world premiere of ‘Desert Stories for Lost Girls.’
Do you believe your ancestors walk with you? Latino Theater Company partners with Native Voices at the Autry, the only Actors’ Equity theater company in the country dedicated to developing and producing new plays by Native artists, to present a haunting and lyrical rumination on identity, family and colonialism over generations by Lily Rushing. Sylvia Cervantes Blush directs the world premiere of Desert Stories for Lost Girls, September 30 through October 16 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. Low-priced previews begin September 28.
Somewhere we lost them
We forgot to remember
But she and she and she
They’re with me now, so.
When 18-year-old Carrie moves in with her grandmother, she is thrown into a world of memory and mystery that unearths her family’s Genízaro identity — shining a light on a dark, bloody and little-known period in the history of the American Southwest.
Beginning in the early 1600s, Spanish colonists sought to “reeducate” (some say “detribalize”) the Native people of the Southwest. Funded by the Spanish Crown, the Spanish first abducted and then later purchased war captives from surrounding tribes, including Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Navajo, Pawnee and Ute. The colonists took these individuals to their households, where they were taught Spanish and converted to Catholicism. They were forced to work as household servants, tend fields, herd livestock, and serve as frontier militia to protect Spanish settlements. Many endured physical abuse, including sexual assault. The Spanish called these captives and their children “Genízaro” (he'nes?ro). Today, Genízaros comprise as much as one-third of the population of New Mexico and southern Colorado.
“I was in college when my mother found an old census and I took a deep dive into researching my Genízaro identity,” says Rushing, who hails from Sacramento and began developing the play as an undergraduate at DePaul University. “The characters in the play are all based on my ancestors. Placida, my great-great grandmother was sold into slavery as a child she had my great grandfather when she was only 11 or 13 years old. My grandparents, Rosa and Joe, moved to California to escape sharecropping. But the other half of my family is still in New Mexico.”
In the play, each time Carrie and Rosa touch an object that links Rosa to her past, they are launched into her memories, bringing Carrie closer to understanding the truth of her heritage.
“What excites me about Desert Stories is that it touches on very dark subject matter in a poetic way that lends itself for highly theatrical staging,” says Blush. “It challenges us to let go of our expectation for a safe narrative. It invites us to lean into the words and visual storytelling to have an experience.”
Desert Stories for Lost Girls opens on Friday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m., with performances thereafter taking place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. through October 16. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29, each at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $10–$48, except opening night which is $58 and includes a reception, and previews, which are Pay-What-You-Choose starting at $5.
The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. Parking is available for $5 with box office validation at Joe’s Parking structure, 530 S. Spring St. (immediately south of the theater).
To purchase tickets and for more information, including up-to-date Covid-19 safety protocols on the day of each performance, call (213) 489-0994 or go to www.latinotheaterco.org.
Presenter / Producer: Latino Theater Company
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 213-489-0994
The Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 S. Spring St
Los Angeles CA 90013
LA - Central / Downtown
Performance Dates: 9/29/2022 - 10/16/2022
Sept. 29 – Oct. 16 (including final preview)
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.
• Fridays at 8 p.m.
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.
• Sundays at 4 p.m.
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