Friday, September 25, 2015

Learn More Before You See The Show: 

"blu" by Virginia Grise 

Written by Edyka Chilomé

Cara Mía Theatre Co.'s upcoming production of blu by Virginia Grise uses epic poetry to explore multiple themes that reflect the current realities of may Xican@/Latinx families. Professor, Poet and blu actress Edyka Chilomé discusses these subjects in this edition of the 'Behind The Scenes' Newsletter. *


Maya Quetzali Gonzalez as Gemini in blu by Virginia Grise
Photo Credit: Linda Blase
Once known by some of its indigenous inhabitants as Atzlan, the southwest was the birth place of Mexica indigenous culture that grew into what is now more commercially referred to as the Aztec empire. The violent colonialism, erasure, and anti indigenous shame prevalent in the Southwest and other colonized lands in the Americas has alienated many indigenous people from their identity and culture forcing them to equate Mexican with the terms Hispanic or Latin/@, terms that for the most part, exclusively highlight Eurocentric and Judeo Christian roots.

However, recent studies show that majority of Mexicans, contain far more Native American ancestry than what many northern tribes require to be federally recognized as a Native American in the U.S. In the play blu, we watch as characters attempt to sift through the fragmentations of their indigenous identities and culture as well as its continued presence in barrio realities. Hailstorm, a queer spiritually conscious Xicana offers ancient Mexica stories to the women in her family who continue to look desperately to the earth, the sky, and the moon "with broken memories and broken prayers".

Edwin Aguilar as Lunatico in blu by Virginia GrisePhoto Credit: Linda Blase
As of 2010 more than two million people were incarcerated in the U.S., making the United States of America the country with the highest incarceration rates in the world. Black and "Latin@" people make up close to 60% of this prison system while only making up 30% of the U.S. population. People of color are up to 5 times more likely to be incarcerated for the same crimes compared to White identified people. However, with the recent news coverage of Sandra Bland and 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, it is known that people of color are likely to be incarcerated and over criminalized for no crimes at all.

In blu, we watch as Lunatico is profiled as a gang member and arrested for having a blue marker at school, highlighting the ways that failing public schools function as a pipeline to prison for xican@ children in the hood. Prioritizing strict disciplinary practices and policies over the quality of relevant education serves to expose and acculturate young children to harsh prison like environments. This process grooms them to be easy fill ins for profit prison system or vulnerable recruits for the front lines in the military. If you were 12 years old and your neighborhood, family, school, and people were constantly vilified and over criminalized by authority figures, media, and politics with no other positive representations or cultural references, might you grow up to glorify a life of violence and crime? Might you consider trying to be something you're not? Would you leave to join the military and face death in hopes of getting away from chronic violence for the rest of your life?


Within a context where masculinity and violence are a way of life and survival, women are often forced to embody masculinity themselves or become the victims of circumstances inside and outside of the home. As blu explores the historical intersections of systemic and interpersonal violence a midst Xican@'s in the hood, we see the women of blu struggling with domestic abuse, rape, violent encounters with the medical system, and fighting against hyper heterosexist masculinity.

Edyka Chilomé as Hailstorm & Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso as Soledad in blu by Virginia Grise
Photo Credit: Linda Blase

Current statistics show that 1 in every 3 women are survivors of sexual or intimate partner abuse in the U.S. More specifically, the rates of domestic and medical violence among poor "Latina" and or Native American women are highly disproportionate to their White counter parts. Moreover, the discrimination and prejudices against queer women of color are, as blu portrays, fought on multiple fronts. Violently rejected by her growing sons for her choice to partner with a woman, and attempt to distance herself from her abuser, Soledad and her daughter Gemini struggle to find peace and connect with the healing feminine energies present in their ancestral stories and the earth.


As stated by Virginia Grise's character Hailstorm, the story of blu is a story of "a people displaced searching for traces of what must use to be... Searching for a time before war". It is the story of many Xican@/Latinx families that have lived and continue to live the reality of militarized hood warfare. Many of us in the cast have had the privilege of breaking some of these cycles in our own lives by having our families or ourselves move up the cultural and or socio economic class latter. However, some of us are still attempting to collect the fragmented pieces of our identities and heal from forced forms of assimilation, violence and erasure. Telling this story has been part of the recollecting and reconsidering in our own lives as we hope it might be for those who watch it.


October 3 - 18, 2015
Latino Cultural Center
2600 Live Oak Street | Dallas, Texas 75204

Show Times:

October 2 at 8:00 PM - (Preview) 
October 3 at 8:00 PM- Opening Night 
(Reception at 7:00 PM)
October 4 at 2:30 PM
October 8 at 8:00 PM 
October 9 at 8:00 PM
(Free Talk Back after the show)
October 10 at 8:00 PM
October 11 at 2:30 PM
October 15 at 8:00PM  
October 16 at 8:00 PM
October 17 at 8:00 PM
October 18 at 2:30 PM

*For more information on how to be added to Cara Mia's "Behind the Scenes" newsletter visit