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Bilingual play gives kids a voice amid violence

Locations: News Published

El Colectivo, a group of Latino artists, presents a bilingual reading of “Draw me a Lamb”, a play by Mexican playwright Karmina Fanjul,  at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at The Launchpad (76 S. Fourth St.).

Fanjul has been writing and directing theater for over 30 years and has refined a style focusing on characters that usually navigate seas of solitude and explores themes of death, soul dissatisfaction,  disappointments, and the imminent search for the Creator Principle, origin and cause of its existence.  

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“Draw me a Lamb” tells the recollections of a 10-year-old boy from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, when facing  the violence that affects the city. The recollections are based on true stories.

The event is a fundraiser for the Karmina’s Kids Theater Company and donations are highly encouraged.

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In advance of the event, KDNK’s Alejandra Rico Bustillos​ interviewed Fanjul as well as local Carlos Herrera Montero, who translated the piece. The following is a partially translated excerpt transcribed by The Sun.

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KDNK: Ciudad Juarez is in Chihuahua Mexico. It’s a border town with El Paso, Texas. It’s a huge name for human rights, especially regarding women and the violence against women that has been happening for decades in that part of the world… There are beautiful artists that stayed and are still there. They’re warriors of light, and they’re creating possibilities for people, especially children, that are still living in the midst of beauty and chaos, ugliness and death… Next weekend there’s going to be a reading of a play written by an artist of Ciudad Juarez.

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Carlos Herrera Montero (CHM): It’s being put together by El Colectivo, a group of latinos that has been doing some theater. It’s a way of presenting more of Carmina’s work. We’ve been performing some of her work, especially during the Day of the Dead celebrations and some puppet shows that we did in Paonia and Parachute.

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KDNK: When did you write “Draw me a Lamb” and what was the reason behind it?

Karmina Fanjul (KF):  I wrote it in 2008-9 as a way of giving voice to the kids’ perception of the violence that they experience on a daily basis… I wrote the play to give them a voice.

KDNK:  Are the parts that are presented in the play based on true stories?

KF: Yes, absolutely…  I’ve changed the names, but unfortunately, they’re all based on real stories. It’s not only about organized crime, but also about kidnapping and murders. The kids are immersed in that reality.

KDNK: When did you begin the children’s theater project in Juarez?

KF: The children’s theater company has been a long process. It was started way back in the ’80s as a way of giving the children an opportunity to have theater with values and positive messages, beyond the commercial theater, so they can express and transform their reality.

KDNK: What is your connection with the Roaring Fork Valley?

KF: Art is a manifestation of human beings. It flies; it spreads all over; it knows no borders. It spreads itself through friends and acquaintances, through those who need it.

KDNK: How can we help the children that are facing this violence?

KF: It’s inevitable that these children will experience violence. It’s important for adults to always talk with their children about what they’re experiencing. Keeping in mind their age, because some of them are very young and they can’t understand what’s going on.

That’s why there are certain topics that can be problems. For example, little kids need simple answers about what is good and what is bad. Others, who are a little older, need a little more explanation about the crime and assassinations so that they can protect themselves. One way is to limit the exposure of children to the news — the television and newspaper talk every day about violence. We need to get kids involved with positive values and how to take care of themselves.

And on the other side, how can we protect them? How can we create projects that help them protect themselves and defend themselves?

KDNK: What is the project that we are supporting right now, and why is this support needed?

KF:  We’re working with children to introduce them to art. We don’t charge the families anything to have their children participate in our projects. We offer classes for free. The children come from poor families who could not afford to pay. They’re children who otherwise would be playing on the streets and exposed to violence. When they come in, they don’t even have an idea of what art or theater is. And yet, we can see a difference in the behavior of the kids that work with us, because they can express their perceptions of their society, and it changes them.

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