Playwright Dael Maln illustrates the plight of immigrants who suffer injustice and prejudice in her play Cuentame Coyote, which comes to the Gesa Power House Theater on May 24 in Walla Walla.
"It's a story with a tragic ending," Maln told the Herald in a phone interview.
She was inspired to tell the story after receiving a grant to research the treatment of Mexicans and Native Americans in Arizona.
The story of the Coyote was told to her by a tribal elder near a small border town south of Tucson a little more than a year ago. Though the story is fictional, it is based on actual events that have occurred along the border.
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"The story has some violence and sexual innuendo, so it's rated PG-13," Maln said.
She explains the plot like this: Maria and Jose long to escape the dangers of working in a Mexican border town because of rampant drug and human trafficking.
The only way out is to walk through the Sonoran Desert, following an untrustworthy coyote -- someone who smuggles migrants across the border into the United States. The price is steep but a better life beckons, calling for extreme measures.
As they follow El Coyote, they must step over dried human bones, scorched by the desert sun, of those who never made it.
Maln's Portland-based theater group, Milagro, is producing Cuentame Coyote . Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.
"It's a sad and touching story of courage and perseverence, based on true border crossings," Maln said. "The border patrol's treatment of these people is violent. Those who are caught are shackled and put in an Arizona prison without any due process."
The cast is comprised of Alida Holguin Wilson-Gunn as Maria, Erubiel Valladares Carranza as El Coyote, Ajai Terrazas-Tripathi as Jose, and Mariel Sierra playing several different roles. After the hour-long play, the cast will chat with the audience about the story and answer questions, Maln said.
Tickets cost $15 to $18. Order www.shakespearewallawalla.org or by calling 509-529-6500.