Joanna Meza / el Don
Local playwright and former Santa Ana College instructor Jose Cruz Gonzalez has been collecting stories from residents throughout Santa Ana.
“This is a play about them, for them and by them,” said Gonzalez.
SAC students got their first glimpse of this two-year in development community theater project at Philips Hall, earlier this month.
Dialogos/Dialogue is a crowd sourced play based on the stories of about 1,200 Santa Ana residents, focusing mainly on Latinos.
Many expressive forms are part of this play, including multi-media, dance and music.
“The arts is the perfect way to engage the community,” said Jacqueline Bustamante, a participant in the project and former SAC student “There’s so much I didn’t know that I’m learning through this play.”
When it came to choosing which stories would be included, Gonzalez formed a pattern that would best reflect the community’s experiences.
“What we found were sort of common storylines,” Gonzalez said.
Three things stood out: self-improvement, crowded spaces, and how people are perceived both by each other and by those outside their community.
In one of the stories presented in the first reading of the play the audience sees both sides of a tragic story through the eyes of the mothers. One is grieving the death her son, the victim of a hit and run accident. The other is the driver’s mother. Their lives intertwine as they find some consolation in one another.
Many stories like these were shared by residents through story circles that took place in community centers over the course of the past year.
The play was an idea of South Coast Repertory, which found a partner organization in Latino Health Access to help them get involved with the residents.
“They tried finding an agency that had a connection with the community,” said Moises Vazquez, a participant who composed music for the play.