‘In and Out of Shadows’ musical shows struggle of undocumented


Javier Valdes, Copy Editor

Bakersfield College ended a series of events commemorating the Delano Grape Strike with a performance of author Gary Soto’s third play, “In and Out of Shadows,” on Sept. 25 at the BC Performing Arts Center Indoor Theater.

The San Francisco Youth Theatre Dream Ensemble delivered a musical that focused on the struggles that affect undocumented teenagers in the United States.

Throughout the process of creating “In and Out of Shadows,” Soto interviewed Bay Area DREAMer’s about their personal experiences and the troubles they face growing up in a country that denies them basic rights. By learning about the painful and real-life experiences of the struggles endured by undocumented teenagers, Soto wrote a play that embodied accurate reflections of what it is like to grow up undocumented in the United States.

The play was well-received at BC as the indoor theater saw a big crowd varying from BC students and faculty to high school students and DREAMer’s.

The crowd praised the acting and production of the play.

“The actors of this play did an extraordinary job by humorously and empathetically evoking emotion such as fear, uncertainty, and pain that undocumented student have to endure,” said audience member Arleen Carvel. “They had many of us in the audience almost in tears at the of the play.”

The “In and Out of Shadows” play was followed by an on-stage panel organized by the California Endowment that focused on the topic of immigration in America and the lack of access to health care.

The panel included immigration attorney Wynn Eaton, Arvin City Councilman Jose Gurrola, Paola Fernandez from the Service Employee International Union, and Lorena Lara from Faith in Action.

Lara talked about her own experience as an undocumented student and talked about how she began organizing for the rights of struggling DREAMer’s.

Eaton reminded the crowd that DACA (Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals) and the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) are two separate things, explaining that DACA was only temporary and that the DREAM Act was a path to permanent legal status in America, which is what most undocumented students and families are striving for.

Much of what the undocumented students strive for is access to health care. Fernandez shared her own experience highlighting the difficulties that her and her family endured when her mother was sick and didn’t have the access to affordable health care. She mentioned that her mother was now diagnosed and that it has become somewhat easier now that she can work and provide financial help for her mother.

The play ended a series of events at BC, highlighting the Delano Grape Strike. The events included a successful community dialogue event, a movie screening on the history of Latino Americans, a book talk with author Lauren Araiza, and a panel presentation by Yale professor Stephen Pitti and Gonzaga University professor Raymond Rast.