CALEXICO — It was the controversy the title brought to the audience that made actor and theater producer Roy Dorantes change the name of his monologue “To Boycott Arizona” to “To Cross the Border.”
Inspired by the debate Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 law generated, Dorantes started presenting the play to various friends in a Mexicali coffee shop. His friends later motivated Dorantes to promote the play in the community.
In an interview, Dorantes said the original title of this Greek-styled monologue (where only the main character speaks and other actors appear in silence) was responsible for closing the door to many places, including some media distributors in the Imperial Valley.
“Many thought the intention was to call for a boycott against Arizona, but in reality it tries to show the problem undocumented migrants face. That’s why the name was changed,” he said.
Many of his friends in Mexicali didn’t know the problems undocumented migrants faced because of the law, which has also affected the Hispanic community, Dorantes said.
In the near future the actor will make a tour of schools associated with the Center of the Physical and Technological Education of Baja California.
In the United States, he said, institutions in Los Angeles and San Francisco invited him to present his work.
Nevertheless, the original title was not used in the tour in California.
“The fact is it is an attempt to give a warning to those who try to cross the border illegally,” Dorantes said.
He said some people consider the monologue a stand against illegal immigration, while others think it is a form of rebellion.
“In Mexicali, they ask me to throw more dirt to the United States, and in the United States to be more against Mexico. With neither I hold good stance,” he said.
In total, Dorantes interprets 16 characters, and in the play he mixes choreography with oratory, poetry and humor.
The play starts with a “generic” police officer, who explains the details of SB 1070, particularly the sanctions that apply when a violation of the law takes place.
Then the main character comes out, an illegal migrant named Ramiro, who when crossing the border faces problems and dangers at the hands of migrant traffickers and migratory laws.
Dorantes said the sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer — both criticized by the Hispanic community — also come out in the play.
The actor also presents a parody of the “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger that is done, as Dorantes said, “without the Guatemalan,” in reference to the domestic worker with whom he had a son and that caused his divorce with Maria Shriver.
Dorantes said the change of title happened recently, after consulting with several teachers.
Now with the play “re-baptized,” he will start looking for new dates and venues across the region this September, and continue sending his message to those who wish to be part of the “American dream.”