DVC’s “Dreamer Project: an Undocuplay” Shows Students’ Challenging Experiences Coming to the U.S.


DVC Undocuplay Playbill

Alison Lucha, Staff

 A new performance streaming through Diablo Valley College’s drama department, “[dreamer] project: an Undocuplay,” depicts the challenges and issues facing undocumented students from Mexico and Central America. In the show, students express the fear, heartache and loss that many faced at a young age when they came to the United States.

Based on interviews that took place from January 2017 to August 2019 with students at San Jose State University, the play provides a platform for young people to talk about why their families chose to come to the U.S, how they got here, and what it means to be a dreamer. Highlighting personal stories of childhood and family, “[dreamer] project” gives audiences a chance to learn more about the lives of undocumented students as they describe navigating through many obstacles.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the play is no longer being performed live but is streaming on www.dvcdrama.net through April 25. The original stage production of the “undocuplay” was developed by the department of film and theater at SJSU, which hosted the show at the Hammer Theater Center in November 2019.

The initial stage performance was overseen by artistic director Elisha Miranda and executive producer Barnaby Dallas, and made possible by San Jose State’s Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts.

Now, developing on that show for the pandemic age, Kathleen Normington has directed DVC’s online performance with students Brenda Gutierrez, Lesly Gabriela Ramirez, Kayla Mendoza, Marlene Guzman, Layla Keshavarz Fard, Juni Hernandez, Adrian Aguilera, Luis Maya, Luis Cardoza, and Anthony Carrasco. All students are DVC drama actors who play the roles of the SJSU students in the interviews. 

The beginning of the play cites former President Barack Obama’s speech on Immigration. “Dreamers are people who study at our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they are friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag,” said Obama. “They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, and in every single way but one, on paper.”

As the play seeks to make clear, people shouldn’t see these students and others like them as “undocumented,” but as human beings marking an important place in our history.