Los Angeles, April 28--Combine a Culture Clash hero going solo with the reinterpretation of an essential American play and an eighteen-year-old youth theater program...and you get Herbert Siguenza's new play Private Eddie U.S.A. Written by Siguenza, a member of the performance trio Culture Clash, Private Eddie U.S.A is staged with a cast of middle and high school-age actors from the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) /Plaza de la Raza youth theater program.
Performances on May 1-3 and 9-10 will take place at the Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza . Performances on May 23 and 24 will take place at the REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater)  in downtown Los Angeles. (See the complete schedule at the end of this release.)
Private Eddie U.S.A. is a loose adaptation of Soldado Raza by renowned playwright Luis Valdez. Soldado Raza was originally performed in April 1971 at the Chicano Moratorium on the War in Vietnam in Fresno, California. Siguenza wrote his first, never produced, interpretation of Soldado Raza in 1982. In that version, the protagonist was a Salvadoran American soldier sent to fight in El Salvador. In Private Eddie U.S.A, the war is in Iraq and, as in Valdez's play, mourners at a funeral reenact scenes from a dead soldier's life.
"There is always an Eddie," said Siguenza. "Every ten years we send kids to war. I want to show young people how the current war is affecting us today--and how it has been affecting us for the last 30 years with Vietnam, El Salvador, Desert Storm and now the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Since September, Siguenza has been working with the students of the CAP/ Plaza de la Raza youth theater program. He introduced the students to exercises devised by Valdez to physicalize Mayan principles and philosophy. With Private Eddie U.S.A , Siguenza is passing the torch--as he imparts the skills and techniques he acquired, as a teen-age actor working with Valdez, to the next generation of performers.
The CAP/Plaza de la Raza Theater Program provides between 40-55 high school and middle school students with 30 weeks of instruction in acting, movement, voice, costume design, set design, lighting and sound design. Classes are held four evenings per week, beginning in October and continuing through May. Students work under the direction of B.J. Dodge, with the assistance CalArts School of Theater faculty member Marvin Tunney and CalArts Theater students, to realize an original production.
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Community Arts Partnership (CAP) is in its eighteenth year. CAP offers in-depth arts programs free-of-charge for elementary, middle and high school students in jazz, printmaking, photography, digital media, video, drawing, animation, dance, theater, puppetry, writing, chamber music, global music and graphic design. Founded in 1990 as the first program of its kind in the United States, CAP enlists the talents of CalArts faculty and students to offer more than 49 arts training programs covering subjects from digital arts and animation to world music and puppetry. The partnership holds classes and workshops in neighborhoods stretching from the Santa Clarita Valley to South Los Angeles.
Calendar Editors Please Note:
Private Eddie, USA
CAP/Plaza de la Raza Theater Program Spring Performance
Plaza de la Raza
May 1, 7:30 p.m.
May 2, 7:30 p.m.
May 3, 7:30 p.m.
May 9, 7:30 p.m.
May 10, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
May 23, 7:30 p.m.
May 24, 7:30 p.m.
Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031
REDCAT Theater, 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA
Reservations are advised.
Call Plaza de la Raza at 323.223.2475
Call REDCAT's box office at 213.237.2800