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“The Boxcar” at Pacifica Spindrift: Go See It

May 2, 2011

Pacifica Spindrift Players “Stage 2” program has produced another must-see show in Silvia Gonzales’ “El Vagon” (“The Boxcar”). It is based on the true stories of Latino immigrants seduced by the coyotes into risky, sometimes deadly, transits across the border into the US. The truth of it we see in the headlines from time to time, but we forget that these news stories are about real peoples’ lives. And deaths.

A video monitor with outdoor scenes of INS agents apprehending illegal immigrants sets the stage for what is about to happen. In quick succession we see a mugging, an interrogation, and five strangers climbing into a boxcar for the long hot journey through Mexico to El Norte. All of them are driven by a desire for work, for hope, esperanza, each has his own story to tell. They form the short-lived relationships of strangers on a train, bound in the end for them all, for nowhere. The boxcar scenes are flashbacks for the lone survivor, questioned by INS agents who come to doubt the foundations of their own beliefs, their jobs. The final scene in the stalled boxcar, with the men gasping out their final breaths, is a harrowing vision of the sacrifices some people make in search of a better life.

Like all good drama, this one raises questions for the audience, and provides few answers. We are all of us reading this, after all, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Our families arrived here in search of work and a better life. Maybe for some of us, they found what they were looking for. “But people like you and me, we forget.” Director David Acevedo and the superb acting of the entire cast remind us.

By the time you read this, there will be only two performances left (8:30 May 6 and 7, 2:00 May 8). Don’t miss it. Admission Free, donations welcome. For more information 650-359-8002 or

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 2, 2011 12:36 pm

    David Hirzel: Thank you, my friend 4 allowing me this opportunity to enter into your space.

    Thnks 4 bringing this up 2 the forefront where many can c the other side of the sad story of us, foreigners specially from Latin American, often called, “unwanted aliens,” often consider a threat to our society, in the United States of America, instead of appreciating us for the numerous positive, creative acts with which we celebrate and enhance our adopted country, United States of America, and contribute to its growth and prosperity.

    ANSWER TO SB 1070

    by Camincha

    We are a protest that screams
    tearing the silence of conformity.

    We are a protest that screams
    revealing our talents: contributions
    to progress, peace, innovation, solidarity,
    like a magenta flower, an aphrodisiac
    we seduce with ideas, its perfume
    wrapping you, in bright elixir swaying
    opinions with its maddening scent.

    We are a protest that screams
    memories brought with our luggage
    from other lands: Flower petals hidden
    between pages, of a book. Letters
    turned dried-up-ink-flakes on worn
    out paper. Broken doll, childhood
    companion. Mother’s watch with worn
    out silk band. Father’s moment of glory
    in faded yellowed photo. Veil and
    ribbons of most Sacred Day, of her
    First Holy Communion. Prayer book
    with blessed stamps of Guardian Angel
    wings spread out protecting little girl.

    We are a protest that screams
    revealing our talents: contributions
    to progress, peace, innovation, solidarity,

    We are a protest that screams
    tearing the silence of conformity.

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