Four stories itching to be told, featuring a handful of characters eager to be known. We're Mericans is a one person show adapted by Mando Alvarado (NSCA '01, Kenan Fellow '02) from Latino literary phenomenon Sandra Cisneros' book, Woman Hollering Creek, brings to life the world of South Texas—a land that straddles the old world and the new.
Ms. Cisneros first won notice of the literary community with The House on Mango Street, her collection of vignettes told from the perspective of a young Mexican-American girl in Chicago. She was deemed by the New York Times Book Review to be, “not only a gifted writer but an absolutely essential one”, lauding her ability to “create unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page and hang out with for a little while.”
We’re Mericans provides that much-awaited chance to “hang out” with those living in the world created by Ms.Cisneros. Adapter and performer Mando Alvarado himself hails from South Texas, and brings to us the very embodiment of Mexican roots filtered through an American upbringing. Mando inhabits this world like a second skin, transforming seamlessly from an eleven-year-old Outkast fan, to a Soap opera loving housewife, to a leathery grandfather remembering his own childhood.
“The stories are about the Mexican-American experience, but they speak of a universal American experience. After all, who among us does not wrestle with some sort of identity issue? Whether Mexican, El Salvadorian, Italian, Jewish – we all struggle to hold on to something of our past, while continuing to move forward.” reflects director Shirley Serotsky when discussing the project.
Shirley and Mando arrived in Washington last August, both recent graduates of The North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. They are here on a fellowship from the William R. Kenan Fund for the Performing Arts, serving as artists in residence at The Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts. While serving their nine-month residency, the Kenan Fellows have worked on a number of Kennedy Center projects, and on several independent projects at the Source Theatre and with Young Playwrights Theatre.