Resident artist of El Teatro Campesino, Rubén Gonzalez, will be performing a solo piece, “El Esquinita, USA” July 7, 8, 9. The show will be performed at the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts in Salinas. The performance is directed by Kinan Valdez, also with El Teatro Campesino (ETC) based in San Juan Bautista. (See specifics on performance and times below)
According to a news release, “‘La Esquinita, USA, is a story of a once booming black/brown town whose main source of employment has moved to China for cheaper labor and has left the town in disarray.”
The plot: In this story of struggle and ultimate redemption, we follow Daniel, an 18-year-old who is coming down from his crystal meth high and forced to make harsh decisions as his world is crumbling around him. Just like many who live in small California towns in the central coast, the valley and many parts of the country, Daniel’s options are few as he spirals toward self-destruction until he meets Lencho, a “neighbor who helps where he can” who guides Daniel to face his demons in order to free his soul.
The news release states, “Gonzalez does not leave us with any easy answers or an easy way out, but as he says, ‘Theatre is for creating the intent underpinning any social/political action… To move an audience, to challenge the audience. Whether to heal our families or our communities, in the end, we are all in this together. We must support each other, if we are to survive as a people.'”
The play, which was written in San Juan Bautista, launched the New Works Lab at El Teatro Campesino in 2010. Gonzalez has been touring the country with this show since then.
Gonzalez is a playwright and actor who received his training at the London Academy for Performing Arts, Circle in the Square Theatre School, El Teatro Campesino and holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of California, Davis. His directing credits include: “Aliso in Worker Land,” “Pilgrimage,” “The Throw Down, Alienation,” “Mi Abuelo Fue Un Bracero” and “Chronicles of Odisia Sanchez,” among others. He has recently come home from his off-Broadway premiere of “La Esquinita, USA.”
Gonzalez has also performed his two previous critically-acclaimed shows, “Diary of a Mad Mexican” and “The Messiah Complex” all over the United States and Poland. His TV credits include ‘Medium, “Veronica Mars,” “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman” and “Air America.” On the big screen, his credits include “Selena,” “It’s Pat,” “Suckers,” “Perfect Game,” “Master,” “Foodstamps,” and “La Mission,” starring Benjamin Bratt.
Director Kinan Valdez is a producing artistic director for El Teatro Campesino. He made his professional directorial debut in 1994 when he co-directed ETC’s biennial Christmas production, “La Virgen del Tepeyac.”
“His style has left an indelible mark on ETC’s productions ever since,” the news release stated. At ETC’s playhouse, he has directed Luis Valdez’ “Soldado Razo,” Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi,” marking the 100th year of the original staging and his very own cult hit, “Samburgesa and the Pixie Chicks.” The release went on to say, “All have earned him credit as a bold, creative, highly imaginative director. Kinan is also a film director/writer and member of ‘Chicanos on the Run.'”
“La Esquinita, USA” will be at The Alisal Center for the Fine Arts, 745 N. Sanborn Rd. in Salinas.
July 7-9 at 7 p.m.
Admission is an $8 donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.