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Detained in the Desert

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is proud to present an Atta Girl Production of Detained in the Desert, by Josefina Lopez October 6-28, 2012 at the Guadalupe Theater,

1301 Guadalupe Street.

Emmy Award-winning playwright Josefina Lopez sets this drama in Arizona’s mystical desert amidst the treacherous anti-immigrant environment. In doing so, she weaves a riveting drama that explores how we, as humans can reach across our political stances, and come to love one another.

Director Joel Settles states, “This piece takes a complex and highly charged issue and humanizes it in quite an original way. It does not tell you what to believe, it takes you on a journey of self reflection and discovery and does so with tears, laughter, and even a little magic. That makes for good theatre.”

Lisa Cortez Walden, executive director at Atta Girl Productions, adds “This is done through such incredible characters.  Ms. Lopez has once again created people we all know so well.”

Meet Sandi, young and full of possibilities as she takes her boyfriend Matt to meet her parents in California.  She has a love of literature and music, but doesn’t care much about politics.  As a young Mexican-American, she “passed” as a white girl, and used that to survive.

Meet Lou, a sharp-witted radio show host with a cult following of people who love America and all it stands for–except immigrants. Lou is in love with the act of debate.  But he doesn’t love changing his mind.  And so, he might need more than intellectual convincing.

Meet Ernesto, Milagros, and a mysterious man from the desert. They have plans to change the world.  One by one.

What would happen if we put all of these characters in the same place?

In this play, the desert is its own character–one that is both treacherous and transformational. Set on Tohono O’odham land just 6 miles north of the border, this production pays special homage to this space by using a series of weavings, inspired by the Tohono O’Odham weaving artists, to recreate the desert landscape and highlight the interconnected-ness of life in the desert.

The fact that this performance is being shown at the historic Guadalupe Theater, the signature building of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s complex, is not happenstance. Lisa Cortez Walden states, “This play needed to be in a specific theater, one which could support dialogue about the issues.  Because of the Guadalupe’s important history in our community, we felt it was a critical match.”

The cast features TJ Gonzales as Lou, Allie Perez as Sandi, Nicolás Valdez as Ernesto, Selena Sue Navarro as Milagros, Timothy Bowman as Matt, Janie Sauceda as a guard.  Joel Settles will direct.  Tina Cantu-Navarro will design costumes.  Lisa Cortez Walden will design the set.

Detained in the Desert opens with a gala reception with the playwright in attendance on Saturday, October 6 and runs Fridays through Sundays until October 28.  Friday and Saturday performances will be at 8 p.m., and Sunday performances will be at 3 p.m. Gala admission for the October 6 performance is $35. General admission for all other performances is $15. Discounts are available to members of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. For more ticket information, call 210.535.4641 or visit

This production is made possible through the generosity of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Sul Ross State University, and the San Antonio Film Commission.