WET: A DACAmented Journey

November 9, 2018

in Performance Art, Plays

Play, Performance

Directed by Brisa Areli Munoz
Written and Performed by Alex Alpharaoh

Cara Mia Theatre and Ignite/Arts Dallas Production
ArtsEmerson
Emerson Paramount Center
November 8 – 25, 2018

Alex Alpharaoh in 'WET: A DACAmented Journey'

Alex Alpharaoh
in “WET: A DACAmented Journey”
Photo: Courtesy of ArtsEmerson

A compelling one-man performance about the challenge to leave and re-enter the United States as a DACA resident.

This autobiographical drama details the life story of its author-performer and does so in a charged and interesting way.

The protagonist, identified as “Enner” in the performance, goes through a huge challenge when the prospect of traveling to his native Guatemala to see a sick grandparent comes up. Whether to go and to challenge the system or whether to sit back and avoid conflict becomes a core of the drama.

If you’re undocumented, your whole life is fragmented says the protagonist and every gesture of the performance bears out that statement.

His story as an infant being smuggled out of Guatemala with his mother is detailed painfully, with accounts of a fellow woman traveler who provides breast milk to the young Enner who is about to die without it because his mother is so depleted. She saves his life and a coyote – slang for a person-smuggler – brings the young Enner across while his mother goes another route. He survives and arrives in California as does she and they are reunited. Mom risked everything including our lives to be here he says.

Enner eventually does decide to go to Guatemala. I was afraid to like Guatemala, he says about the anticipation of his return there, for fear of not returning to the United States.

But eventually he does, and the tale of his re-crossing at the border back into this country is riveting.

Alpharaoh is a gifted mimic and brings to life any number of characters in his performance.

Charged and relevant, and an entertaining telling of a suspenseful and at times heartrending tale, WET is particularly relevant to the current era in which DACA rules established by the Obama administration have been challenged. It highlights the plight of people like Enner who have been raised as Americans and participate fully in the culture but for whom the documented part of identity has not been achieved. This production delivers a solid and vivid sense of the divided state of DACA individuals, the sense of hope they were given during the Obama administration, and the unsettling challenge to it posed at the present.

– BADMan

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