There were 853 known deaths last year on the U.S.-Mexico border, and Sol Lagos felt guilty.
Like many Latine, first generation people, we face this guilt of survival and of being where we are, “it’s easy at USC to just forget that you are still here by luck,” Lagos said.
Grappling with the border crisis that often gets ignored until it’s used as a political fact or figure and attending a university where there is distance from the reality of our ancestors, Lagos found solace in writing. He began to write a play about two people: Salvador, a college student, and Memo, a 10 year-old-boy. They were divided by The Wall, an unknown mystery and the story follows their experience in unpacking why they were at this crossroad.
The play is titled: “Mirror.”
Lagos brought in an all Latine cast and majority Latine crew to the project that will premiere Thursday April 20, and run until Sunday April 23.
“It was immensely difficult to find Latino people available here in a predominantly white institution who were also willing to take on this story,” Lagos explained. But they were able to meet this goal and bring in people who added joy to a story not sugarcoating a reality.
Lagos recalls how fun it was on set. One of his favorite memories were of Alec, who is Mexican, and Frankie, who is Dominican, comparing the differences in their dialect. They also began joking about translating the play into Spanish. ”There’s no pressure, there’s no isolation, there’s no otherness.”
However, the play being in English was a choice. Of course there is Spanish interwoven in the story, but English, added Lagos, brought non-Spanish people into the story who also face border crisis. Bringing people in, making the experience known to all audiences was something he kept in mind while writing and making “Mirror” come to life.
“For anybody who has ancestry divided by borders, I want them to acknowledge their ancestry, what it means to be connected to them, not just in trauma but also survival and resistance,” he said. “For other people … I want the reality of the border crisis to still be in your mind.”
And at the end of the day, Lagos also wants to highlight the joy of survival and the power of ancestry. “There will be Latine resilience,” he said.
That is what “Mirror” does which is special, bringing in hardship and resistance, and tying in the reliance of storytelling.
Tickets to the show are available on instagram @brandnewtheatre. Stay tuned for Dimelo’s post-coverage of the show.