Immigration drama: SoCal day laborers to have own theater troupe

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A play in a parking lot has given birth to a theater troupe that aims to hit the road in Southern California to tell the stories of its day laborers and domestic workers. ‘Los Illegals,’ staged in Pasadena in spring 2007, followed the L.A.-based Cornerstone Theater Company’s usual method of interviewing people caught up in a social or community issue -- in this case the daily grind of the mostly illegal immigrants who gather at designated hiring lots for day laborers -- and recruiting some of those same nonthespians to perform the professionally written play alongside professional actors. Cornerstone got a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to launch the company in collaboration with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. The goal, according to a press release, is ‘a sustainable, independent theater troupe by and for day laborers and domestic workers,’ with a mandate to dramatize their lives and immigration issues at ‘work sites, street corners, protests, churches, community centers and union meetings throughout Southern California.’

-- Mike Boehm