Imagine heaps of suitcases piled high and everywhere. They are everything that immigrants carry. The youngsters perched on them are the face of immigration, as is the case today in Albany Park.
Imagine now the stage as it darkens and now huddle as if in a boat making a trip from Central America to Mexico and then beyond to the US. It happens all the time.
Imagine a young Palestinian, her family expelled from Kuwait, landing in Jordan and selling her dolls to scrape together money to come to America.
Imagine a bright young Latina turned away from one job after another because she has no papers to allow here to live here legally. It happens all the time.
Imagine a flashing, flamboyant quiz show game called “Who Wants to Be An American.” Only the terrified young Latino never gets passed the first few steps because of whom he is. His reward is an ankle monitor.
Imagine a husband wife planning their lives. Then their break-up because he is arrested and because he has no papers, he is headed back south. The son visits the detention center. The father is distraught. The family crumbles.
Imagine two elderly nuns who see no reason why they cannot share their prayers at the federal detention center for the immigrants; prayers with the men and women and children there. The two persevere and ultimately win this small but so critical right.
Imagine these stories, which are real and gleaned from immigrants and their allies here and then retold by these youngsters in song and dance and words so stunningly eloquent that they seem older than they appear.
Imagine all of this on a stage in a Chicago Park District building – the Eugene Field Park. It is hard to imagine the brilliance and the sweep of emotions put forth by the young members of the Albany Park Theater Project. Maybe in the 1930s, they sang and moved such heartfelt, meaningful verse. Maybe. Maybe others have told the story of today’s immigrants with such clarity and compassion. But few probably, I imagine, with as much inspiration as the Albany Park Theater Project.
This is a performance to behold and recount. It is on hand until April 28
Imagine all of this here in Chicago and Albany Park. That’s easy.
Let me know if you go, what’s your reaction. If you write or tell something, please share it with us.
Here’s their link. If they don’t have tickets, beg.