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In And out of Shadows by Gary Soto

  • Brava Theater Center 2781 24th Street San Francisco, CA, 94110 United States (map)

Brava! for Women in the Arts, San Francisco Youth Theatre & Fresno City College present
Gary Soto’s


Sunday, November 23rd
Two shows!!!       2pm & 7pm

IN AND OUT OF SHADOWS, a musical by famed Chicano writer Gary Soto, is about the lives and experiences of a group of undocumented teenagers from Richmond and Pinole, California. Very funny, in a format loosely based on the Canterbury Tales, members of San Francisco Youth Theatre’s professional ensemble not only perform the play, but also gathered the oral histories from around the Bay Area on which it is based, and which Soto has transformed into this vibrant, musical theater production, with an original score, inspired by Mexican Mariachi, jazz and hip hop.

Directed by Cliff Mayotte (from Voice of Witness) with music by SFYT Director Emily Klion and Bay Area luminary George Brooks.

As the teens prepare their personal statements for an AB 540 conference at UC Berkeley (AB 540 allows DREAMers, as they are known, to attend school at in-state tuition rates),  we meet Juan, who arrived in the US alone via a sewer when he was 13. And Alberto who, as a determined six-year-old, was put to sleep with cough syrup during the crossing because he adamantly refused to give his cousin’s name as his own. We watch a newly urbanized vaco loco teaching an undocumented Chinese friend how to speak street Spanish.  Running through everything is the fear of deportation. Many families in the show have mixed status – undocumented parents whose documented children were born here, for example - who live in constant fear of family separation.  The diverse group of young actors, many whom are directly affected by the issue, mix English, Spanish, Tagalog, Spanglish and other languages as they unfold the unwieldy human effects of this messy political issue.

In and Out of Shadows was developed in 2012 with Dave Egger’s “Voice of Witness” oral history program and Marsh Youth Theater, with support from the Creative Work Fund. The show premiered at The Marsh in 2013. This production is supported by the Fresno Regional Foundation, The California Endowment, and Brava Theater.

Gary Soto is a nationally acclaimed poet and novelist of young adult fiction. Born and raised in the farm community of Fresno, he has a keen personal interest in Latino youth and first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing low-income immigrant populations, from whose lives he draws extensively in his stories. The blend of humor and Spanglish vernacular in his fiction has captured the largest readership of Latino youth in the nation. His books have been translated into five languages and sold nearly four million copies, with 48 million textbooks featuring his writings. He currently lives in Berkeley.
San Francisco Youth Theatre is directed by youth theatre dynamo, Emily Klion. Based at Brava Theater and Red Poppy Art House, SFYT ensembles are extremely diverse in race, class, ability, national origin, sexual orientation and, most significantly to this project, immigration status. SFYT provides musical theater education and performance opportunities for youth without regard to financial circumstance or past experience. In and Out of Shadows is SF Youth Theatre’s premiere performance.

Fresno City College, founded in 1910, is California’s first junior college and now serves more than twenty thousand fulltime and part-time students. Gary Soto is an alumnus of the college; the Gary Soto Literary Museum is located in the campus’s Old Administration Building and attracts school age children, college students, and tourists.

Earlier Event: November 21
33rd Encuentro Del Canto Popular