Upcoming Theater: DETAINED (World Premiere at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood)

Post image for Upcoming Theater: DETAINED (World Premiere at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood)

by Lamont Williams on January 20, 2022

in Theater-Los Angeles

How do families stay together, even when they are kept apart? The Fountain Theatre presents a gripping new docudrama, a compilation of true stories that explores the rippling impact of mass deportations on families.

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The world premiere of Detained, written by France-Luce Benson and directed by Mark Valdez, opens February 19 at the Fountain Theatre. Performances will continue through April 10 with three public previews taking place February 16 through February 18, 2022.

Originally commissioned by immigration attorney Judy Rabinovitz of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Detained is based on interviews with longtime U.S. residents held in immigration detention, and with their family members, advocates, attorneys and representatives of ICE. Inspired by their stories, Detained explores how families fight to stay together as increasingly cruel U.S. immigration legislation keeps them apart through mass deportations and immigration detention centers. It offers a heart-wrenching and in-depth look at the human lives behind the policies, and celebrates the strength and determination of the ordinary people who must fight against an unjust system while keeping their hope and faith in humanity intact.

“All of the stories in this play are true, and they are heartbreaking,” says Benson. “The more people I met, the more time I spent with them, the more important it became to tell their stories. When you go through trauma, you want to be seen, to be given a voice. My own family immigrated to America in the 1970s, and my father received a humanitarian award for the work he did at Krome Detention Center in the ’80s and ’90s. This is his story too, and a way for me to honor the sacrifices he made for us.”

When Rabinovitz first approached Benson, Obama was still in office. Under his administration, more people were being deported than ever before. Since then, with harsher immigration legislation enacted under Trump and the current Covid-19 health crisis, the situation for many immigrants has become ever more dire. As more stories of injustice persist and legislation changes, so does the play.

Characters include a teenage foodie aspiring “chef-lebrity,” a U.S. Veteran, and a mother of two who works as a roofer in New York City. Together, their collective voices weave a compelling and complicated tapestry.

The creative team includes scenic designer Sarah Krainin; lighting designer Christian V. Mejia; composer and sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett; media designer Matt Soson; and costume designer Jeanette Godoy. Movement choreography is by Annie Yee. The production stage manager is Anna Kupershmidt.

France-Luce Benson is a Haitian-American playwright and television writer whose work has been described as “epic, sensual, and featuring nuanced representations of under-represented communities across the Afro-Diaspora.” Named “Someone to Watch” by American Theatre magazine, she is the 2021 winner of the Lily’s Lorraine Hansberry Award, and was just awarded a new play commission from Atlantic Theatre Company in New York.

Judy Rabinovitz is a deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, where she has worked since 1988, litigating class action and impact cases on a variety of issues affecting the rights of immigrants. In recent years her work has focused largely on advocacy and litigation challenging immigration detention policies and practices. She played a leading role in the indefinite detention litigation that resulted in the Supreme Court’s Zadvydas v. Davis decision, and in subsequent litigation to ensure application of that decision to indefinitely detained Mariel Cubans. In addition, she coordinated a nationwide litigation campaign to challenge the mandatory immigration detention statute that Congress enacted as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), culminating in Demore v. Kim, which she argued before the Supreme Court in 2003.

Mark Valdez is an itinerant artist, cultural organizer and consultant who partners with communities, organizations, civic institutions and others, using theater and creative tools to address community needs and to lift up community voices and stories. His work has been seen at the Alliance Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, East West Players, Garry Marshall Theater, La Peña Cultural Center, Mixed Blood, Ricardo Montalban Theater/CTG and Trinity Rep, among others.

Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. (Fountain at Normandie)
runs February 19 – April 10, 2022 (Previews Feb. 16-18)Fridays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1, 8• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 19 (opening night), 26; March 5, 12, 19, 26; April 2, 9• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Feb. 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 28; March 7, 14, 21, 28; April 4 (dark Feb. 21)
for tickets ($25 – $45), call 323.663.1525 or visit Fountain Theatre
(Pay-What-You-Want and regular seating is available Mondays)
secure, on-site parking: $5

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