If you’ve been feeling powerless amidst the ramped-up efforts to deport immigrants and the horrifying conditions under which so many are detained, you’re not alone. This weekend, a theater production called Sincerely, America aims to help audience members and actors alike to combat some of that powerlessness through two one-act plays about immigration, history, family, and loss. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion featuring writers, immigration experts, and activists, after which audience members will have the opportunity to write letters to political officials and those in detention.
“I often feel powerless to make big change and have come to believe that, while theater in and of itself may not make change, it can give us deeper insights into the human condition,” said Ellen Peters, director of American Dreams: Immigrant Stories, a series of 10 monologues that serve as one of the one-act plays. “As I observe the heinous treatment of immigrants, refugees, and those seeking asylum, I think the first step to broad change is empathy for those who are being mistreated. Sincerely, America delivers an experience that brings the plight of immigrants to our hearts and minds and is but one step in moving toward a world where all humans are treated with dignity.”
The project is being put on by empathos company, an independent theater company founded by Chevi Chung, director of The Art of Remembering, the other play that makes up Sincerely, America. Chung said she was drawn to the play for the last three years and decided to do a joint production when Peters approached her with the collection of monologues that is American Dreams.
In explaining the reason she believes such a project is important and necessary, Chung quoted Nina Simone: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” In her own words, Chung said, “We can take a stand and speak out… and let’s use theater to do it.”
The 90-minute performance will take place in the Historic Courtroom at Court House Square in downtown Tacoma on July 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are offered at a sliding scale of $5 to $15 and can be purchased here or by phone at 253-343-5400.