WATSONVILLE — Watsonville High School’s drama program is presenting two plays written to illustrate the migrant experience.
“Simply Maria, or the American Dream” and “Real Women Have Curves” were penned by Josefina López in 1996 and 2002, respectively.
Both have since been widely adapted for stage plays. “Real Women Have Curves” was adapted to the big screen in 2002.
Born in 1969 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, López emigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 5.
According to WHS drama teacher David Scott, Lopez wrote the semi-autobiographical plays as a young woman to help her to express the feelings she was having as she experienced her own struggles with identity.
These two plays together present the complete story of Carmen and the children she brought to be in America to carve out their slice of the American Dream.
In “Simply Maria, or the American Dream,” Carmen and Ricardo elope and conceive their first child, Maria, and bring the girl to Los Angeles. Maria must battle with low societal expectations because she is a girl.
In “Real Women Have Curves,” 20 years have passed, and Carmen has joined another of her daughters, Estela, in her dress-making factory. The women in this factory, all immigrants, have recently experienced amnesty, yet face the oppression of poverty and debt.
“It expresses a lot of ideas of Mexican culture that are not talked about, but people should know,” said Jacqueline Ortiz, who plays Maria. “She comes here to the U.S., and she’s going through the struggle of who she wants to be.”
Ariana Loma, who plays Estela, said the messages are sure to resonate with Watsonville residents, which boasts an 80 percent Latino population.
“Not having papers and fear of deportation is a fear for a lot of people,” she said.
“Simply Maria, or the American Dream” and “Real Women Have Curves” are playing in the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts at 250 East Beach St. in Watsonville.
Showtimes are Nov. 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $5-10 at the door. WHS students get in free with their ID.