As immigration continues to be a trending topic at the White House and more states across the country introduce new anti-immigration laws, the Ohio State Department of Theatre is bringing the issue of immigration closer to home, with its first production of the year, “Living Out.”
The play will be held at the Vern Riffe Center-Studio One Theatre on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Written by Lisa Loomer in 2003, the play remains timely as it focuses on some of the challenges illegal immigrants face when they first enter the United States.
It is based on the story of two women, Ana and Nancy, who share similar struggles as mothers but are separated by their cultural views and ideals on legal status, language, race and class.
The play takes place in Los Angeles. Ana is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and is a mother of two. She decides to look for a job as a nanny, in order to apply for legal residency and to bring her eldest son over from her home country.
Nancy is an American citizen and is a new parent in search of a nanny to take care of her newborn child. She is a wealthy entertainment lawyer in the process of moving homes and returning back to work from maternity leave. Through their differences they illustrate the role of today’s working mother and take risks in order to build a better life for the family and children.
The cast will be played by OSU theatre students and directed by Maureen Ryan, OSU Department of Theatre associate professor.
“It’s always great when you’ve got a cross-culture cast because what the play is about ends up happening with the sharing of the cast members,” Ryan said.
“We begin to cross those cultural collides and get to know each other. And we get beyond that sense of otherness when someone who illegal or an alien is considered as an ‘other.'”
Michelle Golden, a fourth-year in theatre, will play the role of “Zoila,” an older nanny who is Ana’s friend and an illegal immigrant for several years.
Golden said that she has learned through her character’s life struggles and appreciates immigrants that come to the U.S. to work, while having to leave their families behind.
“Just like the play says, to live out and not only look at our own lives, but to see what it is like to live in somebody else’s shoes,” Golden said. “It makes you think about people you see regularly and don’t know what they do when they go home. They have a life too. They struggle and it’s real.”
Though she is not sure if she will attend, Elizabeth Galko, a first-year in biology, is interested in the immigration topic the play brings to the stage.
“There is a lot of controversy with immigration and I think it is an appropriate play for right now,” Galko said.
Chris Heinlen, first-year in molecular genetics, said he has not yet seen the play .
“I’m interested in culture and people in general and I’d like to go if I could,” Heinlen said.
Student tickets are $13 with a BuckID or $18 for nonstudents, and can be purchased through the Department of Theatre box office.