With this weekend’s production of The Migrant Farmworker’s Son, popular drama teacher Jane Martin is once again bringing something innovative to theater at Sonoma Valley High School. The play by Silvia González explores the multi-layered tensions in the family of a man and his wife who emigrated from Mexico to Arizona in the hopes of finding a better life. We see Henry, the teenage son, dealing with questions and issues inherent in the challenge of living in dual cultures – a challenge that is experienced daily by many students in the Sonoma Valley. How do their parents’ language, traditions and values relate to their own lives?
All the Latino actors in the cast are having their first–ever stage experience. They spoke about how working with the play has helped them better understand their own families and wrestle with these challenges.
The assistant director of the play is María Estrada, one of Martin’s drama students whom she recruited for the job. Martin says Estrada’s knowledge of the culture has been invaluable. Martin is hoping this inaugural performance will launch a tradition of Latino theater at the high school.
In the play, there are two characters who have died but visit members of the family as mentors. Veronyka Marie Martínez enjoys the challenge of playing the dead daughter, a seven-year-old whom only her father sees and hears. This magical realism is a literary element distinctive to Latin American literature, because it reflects the spirituality so integral to the Latino culture. A perfect choice for this weekend that precedes the Días de los Muertos, Days of the Dead, the play will be presented Saturday, October 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 31 at 2 p.m. in the Little Theater.