Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Kansas City Star - Another Propaganda Movie Promoting Illegal Aliens

Kansas City Star | 06/09/2004 | Child care takes center stage at the Rep

Posted on Wed, Jun. 09, 2004

Child care takes center stage at the Rep

Performance deals with nannies and race relations

By KIMBERLY SWEET Special to The Star

“Child care is becoming a huge issue in the United States. And it's not getting any better.”

Ricardo Antonio Chavira, who plays Bobby Hernandez, Ana's husband, in the Rep production.

Nancy is an affluent attorney who needs the services of a loyal nanny to take care of her child.

Ana is an undocumented worker from El Salvador who needs a job to support a child in the United States and one back in her home country.

The two women connect in the play “Living Out,” which premieres tonight at the Missouri Repertory Theatre, giving Nancy a caretaker and Ana a job.

But that doesn't mean either of the women's problems are solved.

The ensuing choices both women are forced to make are explored in the play written by Lisa Loomer. She also wrote the plays “The Waiting Room,” “Expecting Isabela” and was the screenwriter for the film “Girl, Interrupted.”

Nancy must face the guilt she feels leaving her child for work. Ana struggles with leaving her own child to take care of another.

They are the same choices that working parents around the country face today, said Ricardo Antonio Chavira, who plays Bobby Hernandez, Ana's husband, in the Rep production.

“The writer of the play has done a magnificent job of structuring those choices,” said Chavira, a Los Angeles-based actor who has performed on stage as well as television and appears in the recently released film “The Alamo.”

“She shows how certain choices are good and how certain choices have a huge domino effect.”

Writing a play exploring those choices is especially relevant today, Chavira said, as many families with working parents struggle to obtain and afford childcare.

“Childcare is becoming a huge issue in the United States,” he said. “And it's not getting any better.”

Along with childcare, Loomer confronts the issue of race relations and the relationship between Latinos and whites in the United States.

As Nancy and her affluent friends complain about their nannies, Ana and her friends are equally vicious about their employers, Chavira said. Loomer touches on the stereotypes both sides have of the other using humor.

Chavira said that humor is intended to open minds, adding that he hopes people will “laugh openly” over the comments of both sides, even though they may seem discriminatory.

“A lot of times when you are dealing primarily with white people or primarily with Latino people, they are ignorant to the other side,” said Chavira, who is half Latino and half caucasian. But he said that as the Latino population continues to boom in the United States, it is important for people to better understand the culture.

“Living Out” is the first play at the Missouri Repertory Theatre that attempts to represent the Latino experience in the United States. The play is part of an ongoing effort to bring diversity to the theater's stage, said Laura Muir, director of communications for the Missouri Repertory Theatre.

“It's part of our commitment to better represent this community,” Muir said, adding that the hope is that more diversity on stage will lead to more diverse audiences.

“Living Out” premiered last year in Los Angeles. Peter Altman, artistic director for the Missouri Repertory Theatre, secured the rights for the Kansas City production after the completion of the show's run in Los Angeles and arranged for the play to be a co-production with the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The show played in Seattle through January and will run in Kansas City through June 27.

Chavira said the play is entertaining, but also enlightening — and ends with a twist.

“I think it will give the audience something to think about when they walk away,” he said.

Living Out opens tonight and runs through June 27 at the Spencer Theater in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Center for Performing Arts, 4949 Cherry St. Ticket prices range from $10 to $47.


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