The dramatic monologue "To Cross the Border" will tour through various cities in Southern California from July 30 through August 10 with a message that is both a warning and a call to compassion regarding undocumented immigrants.
The one-man performance by Roy Dorantes highlights the plight of undocumented immigrants as they cross the border with dreams of finding better lives but instead find a gauntlet of dangers and trouble in the form of double-crossing "polleros" and tough anti-immigrant laws.
The production mixes narrative, poetry, parody, choreography and music in order to deliver a powerful message of reflection on the issue of illegal immigration. It has been successfully presented in Mexico, Imperial Valley, San Francisco, and Stockton, California, in schools, cultural centers, conferences and theater festivals.
"The idea for the play came to me around the time when Arizona was about to sign the SB-1070 law and people were getting very emotional about it," Dorantes said. He first intended to make a simple entertaining play just to educate his immediate friends in Mexicali about the implications of the tough Arizona law and of the many dangers that an illegal immigrant faces.
"I did it so that they would be better informed. I didn't want them to just throw verbal rocks in every direction without having a broader picture of the problem."
Dorantes says that after showing the play a couple of times many people convinced him that he should offer it to the general public and to schools. So he ventured out of the little café in Mexicali where the play was born and presented it to a packed house at the prestigious Mexicali Center of the Arts (CEART).
"People were coming up to me, hugging me, and thanking me for the play. Several told me that it was their story that I was telling. At that point it became a work of love and vision for me."
In his one-hour long monologue, Dorantes plays sixteen different characters, among them Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and Ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with policemen, businessmen, and, of course, undocumented immigrants, in order to tell a story that he hopes would promote dialogue and the search for a humane solution to this growing issue.
The story also serves as a historical representation of an issue regarding Hispanics living in the United States. He welcomes invitations from organizations, schools, and groups that would like to host the presentation of the monologue.