Oct 29, 2007

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS CHAVEZ RAVINE


Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company opens its 07-08 season with performances of Chavez Ravine by the Chicano/Latino performance troupe, Culture Clash, on November 8-17. Directed by Enza Giannone, Chavez Ravine uses a comic, vaudevillian style to tell the powerful story of the Mexican-American neighborhood displaced by city politics and corporate greed in order to build Dodger Stadium. A cast of 20 talented teens from throughout central Connecticut portrays more than 50 fictional and nonfictional characters to create a play that “moves as swiftly as the Santa Ana winds.”

In the 1840s, City Councilman Julian Chavez purchased land near the center of the Pueblo of Los Angeles. In the early 20th century, Chavez Ravine first sheltered refugees of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and then became a multicultural home to Russian Jews and Italian and Chinese immigrants. By 1950, the Los Angeles City Council designated the area for a new public housing project, and the city forcefully evicted the residents of Chavez Ravine through the process of eminent domain and tore down their houses. The housing project was never built, and in 1959, Dodger Stadium rose on the site that had once been home to hundreds of families.

Chavez Ravine spans the years 1946-1981 but is primarily set in the 1950s. Against a background of urban expansion, political unrest, and anti-communist paranoia, this important play helps spread a message of resistance, community and solidarity.

A “can-can” preview of Chavez Ravine will be performed on November 8 at 7 pm. All tickets are “pay-what-you-can,” and audience members are asked to bring a canned or nonperishable food item for the Amazing Grace food pantry. Additional performances are on November 9 & 10 and 16 & 17 at 7:30 pm. All performances are at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, in Middletown, CT. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For more information or reservations, please call (860) 347-6143.

Major support for Oddfellows’ 2007-2008 season comes from the State Department of Education, CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, Middletown Commission on the Arts, The Stare Fund, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, and the Middletown Foundation for the Arts.