Miguel Garcia sits down with the Artistic Director of CASA 0101, Josefina Lopez, best know for writing "Real Women Have Curves" and being the founder of CASA 0101 Theater, the first theater and cultural center in the artistic renaissance in Boyle Heights.
Miguel: A new year and a new theater season at CASA 0101. What's coming up in your theater season?
Josefina: It just started with the hit show by David Valdez called "Scarred for Life", now we are going to premiere "I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges" on February 8th. In April we have the first trilingual play ever, it's in English/Spanish/ and American Sign-Language, titled "Tamales De Puerco" - about a Latina mother fighting for her deaf mute child. In May we have the film Festival Reel Rascuachi, and in June the World Premiere of "Hungry Woman", a play I wrote inspired by my novel "Hungry Woman in Paris".
Miguel: Tell me more about your next show ‘«Ű "I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges." Why did you select this play?
Josefina: I wanted to present "Zoot Suit" by Luis Valdez at CASA 0101, but unfortunately we were not able to get the rights to it because Teatro Campesino will be celebrating their 50th anniversary and they will be doing a national tour of it in a few years. I was not disappointed because I also wanted to do his other play "I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges" because it was the one play that changed my life. It opened my eyes to the reality of stereotypes and Hollywood's distortion of reality.
Miguel: How did this play change your life?
Josefina: After I saw the LATC production back in 1986 I knew that my life would be devoted to shattering stereotypes about Latinos and women. I was so inspired that night that not even my parents locking me out of the house upset me. (They locked me out of the house because they thought I went out with my boyfriend to mess around rather than going to the theater. They couldn't believe that I was actually going to the theater to watch a play.)
I remember thinking that it was the first time I had seen a story on stage with Latino characters about Latinos and their lives. And they were not in the barrio, they were in Monterey Park doing well and the protagonist had gone to Harvard. It was all new to me and it helped explained why all the Latinos on TV at that time were negative representations of Latinos. It really bugs me that even though it's been more than 25 years since I saw this play very little has changed. The same stupid stereotypes persist. I gave up my acting career because every audition was for MARIA the maid. I took up writing so that we could see Latinos as not just servants but creators too.
Miguel: What's the most damaging thing about stereotypes?
Josefina: Aside from the fact that it hurts our brand as Latinos because it devalues us as human beings, stereotypes can convince someone they know somebody when they don't. For instance, if white people stereotype Latinos as hoodlums in a Latino neighborhood, instead of seeing a Latino coming towards them as someone who may want to help them they may immediately think they are going to be attacked and shoot a good Samaritan. Incidents like these have happened as well as incidents with the police imagining a Latino youth has a gun instead of just a flashlight.
Miguel: What did you think of "Argo"?
Josefina:I was glad to discover that it was based on a true story and on a real Latino who did something courageous. How unfortunate that Ben Affleck didn't think it would be offensive for him to play the lead. Latinos rarely get to play leads. I'm just glad he did not get nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal in "Argo". However, it's a good lesson to all of us Latino filmmakers. We must put our money down to produce films about Latinos so that Latinos can play those leads like Diego Luna did with Cesar Chavez ‘«Ű just wished he would have hired a Latino/a screenwriter!!
Miguel: What does Luis Valdez think of the production?
Josefina:I'm sure he is happy about his play getting produced in Los Angeles since the last time it was performed was 25 years ago. He is going to be attending the play on Sunday, February 10th and after the show there will be a Question & Answer with him so we will know what he really thinks then. We are doing our best to do justice to this important and funny work.
Miguel: How can people get tickets?
Josefina: Discounted Preview Performances at a flat rate of $10 per ticket will be given on Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. The Press Opening Night Performance will be held on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 8:00 p.m., followed by a performance on Saturday, February 9, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Thereafter performances will be given on Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. through March 10, 2013.
Concurrently with the run of the play there will be an art exhibition entitled, "Coalescing ‘«Ű The Sleeping Giant," co-curated by Lilia Ramirez and Sonji Mariposa. The exhibition will be in The Jean Deleage Art Gallery at Casa 0101 Theater.
Ticket prices for performances during the five-week limited run of the show from February 8 ‘«Ű March 10, 2013 will be $20 per person for General Admission; $17 per person for Seniors; and $15 per person for Students/Boyle Heights residents. Discounts for Groups are also available. Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Theatre patrons can get a $2 discount by presenting their Metro Bus Cards at the Box Office when buying tickets. Metro bus stations are located on First Street in Boyle Heights at both Soto Street, and at Boyle Street (Mariachi Plaza), within a short walking distance to the theatre. For tickets, please call the Casa 0101 Theater Box Office at 323-263-7684, Email email@example.com, or buy online at www.casa0101.org.