By Matthew Spangler
Directed by Sam Woodhouse
Originally produced at San Diego Repertory Theatre, San Diego, CA. April 6, 2012 through June 2, 2012
About the Premiere Production
Tortilla Curtain is based on the best selling novel by T.C. Boyle, whom Newsweek called America’s most imaginative contemporary novelist. The book has been liberally adapted into a play by Matthew Spangler. In the sun-bleached hills of Topanga Canyon just outside Los Angeles, the lives of three people are on a collision course. Delaney Mossbacher, nature writer and staunch environmentalist, lives a tidy, comfortable existence with his wife and young stepson behind the walls of a gated hilltop community. They are living their American dream, unquestioning of their absolute right to all that they have. Cándido Rincon and his sister in-law América, recently arrived undocumented immigrants from Mexico, live in a ravine at the bottom of the canyon, fighting the elements, and tirelessly mowing lawns and cleaning houses while they save for an apartment. They cling to their vision of the American dream, which manages to elude their grasp at every turn. One summer day, Delaney, driving up the narrow, twisting canyon road as he returns home from his weekly trip to the recycling center, hits Cándido with his car. The lives of the two men and their families will never be the same.
"San Diego REP is located 25 minutes from the most trafficked international border crossing in the western hemisphere the major gateway for much of the illegal immigration into the United States. Since 1996 we have been committed to producing work that speaks provocatively to the multiple voices of the people of our region. Tortilla Curtain is a unique example of a story that not only reflects the political and personal issues and tensions in our region, but one that speaks directly to one of the major issues facing America today. How do we deal with those who wish to become New Americans? Part satire and part parable, Tortilla Curtain is about undocumented immigration, xenophobia, and the (un)achievability of the American Dream. What are the rights and privileges of those who are American citizens? How should they be protected in the face of ceaseless demand by the have-nots to share in what America offers? Does manifest destiny have any traction in the 21st century? How does a nation that has been built on the dreams and hard work of immigrants embrace those who wish to now join the American journey? Tortilla Curtain does not answer these questions; instead it tells a powerful story that insists we are all in this together, and it shines a powerful light on some of the most contentious national issues of our time. The play is based on a very popular and politically relevant novel. As of this writing we do not have another theatre as a producing partner that would lead to a second production or co-world premieres, we believe that the topic and issues of Tortilla Curtain will make a successful staging of the work very attractive to other companies to produce in the future. We have high hopes that Tortilla Curtain can make a significant contribution to the canon of American Theatre."
Additional Rehearsal time is critical to producing new works, and unfortunately it is true that time costs money. Fortunately gifts like those from Edgerton allow us to make the subtle and sometimes critical changes, progress, and growth that can make a new production a success.
Director: Sam Woodhouse
Set Design: Robin Roberts
Lighting Design: Jennifer Setlow
Sound Design: Tom Jones
The San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture
The Mandell Weiss Charitable Fund