The Day Laborer's Project Roberto Varea

Roberto Varea

The Performing Arts and Social Justice (PA&SJ) major, in collaboration with the Dept. of Theology/Religious Studies and the Erasmus learning community are proud to announce a partnership with the Day Laborer's Office of San Francisco for the development of an original dramatic performance scheduled for the Fall of 2003.

Directed by Assistant Professor Roberto Gutierrez Varea, the EPJ was designed as a model of creative interaction between university and community as well as learning and service, and is a wonderful example of how the theater can become a catalyst for a number of related initiatives.

The main goal of the EPJ is to give voice to some of the most vital and most marginalized members of our community, and to include their stories within the corpus of a "people's history", an essential human story to accompany the corporate discourse on "Globalization", "Area of Free Commerce of the Americas" (ALCA), and the 21st Century migrant work-force.

The project will begin with dramatic classes for the Day Laborers at St. Anthony's of Padua in the Mission district. Along with the training in theater, participants, all immigrant men (and a few women) who have come to San Francisco in search for work, will develop a forum to process their experiences of migration: the world they left behind and the factors that influenced their decision to leave home, working conditions, struggle, dreams of a better future and the hard realities of trying to survive and support their families in an often hostile foreign land. EPJ will do video, voice, written and photographic documentation of the creative process and will give this information to the Day Laborer's Office.

The research and documentation phase will inform the development of an original dramatic piece performed by the Day Laborers themselves, possibly with an English version developed by PA&SJ majors performed live or on video, in the documentary style developed by performance artist Anna Deveare Smith. This production will be performed at the University, at a theater in the Mission District as a benefit for the Day Laborer's Organization, and in the streets, the place where these men look for work every day.

Ceative Associates include, Associate Prof. Lois Lorentzen, Theology/Religious Studies; Associate Prof. David Batstone, Theo/Religious Studies & Erasmus Project; Michel Duffy, University Ministry & Erasmus Project; Francisco Herrera, Cultural Worker with the Day Laborer's Organization, Luis Erique Bazan, Graduate Student Theology Studies; Students from the Erasmus Learning Community.

For more info on El Proyecto Jornaleros, email varea@usfca.edu