The world premiere of a new play by Richard Montoya, acclaimed playwright and Culture Clash Co-founder. Co-created and directed by Sean San José, Campo Santo Co-Founder, Visual Designer Joan Osato.

The River unites Montoya and San José, two of California’s most renowned and prolific artists, to tell a homeland tale that reflects their experiences and the experiences of the people who make up their families, their communities. The story’s geographic reflection ties our state together through the journeys that make us all connected. Through their very personal lenses, Montoya and San José create a tale of beautifully fraught tension that reflects how socially, culturally, and economically diverse we are as the people of California.

The River carries us along its trail through the personal stories of California’s diverse citizens: “undocumented”, hipsters, immigrants, families, outcasts, desperados. The New River, a toxic waterway that winds by the towns along the border connecting southeast California and Mexico, forms the backdrop for intertwined stories. These stories of diverse cultures morphing, land monopolies, the Mexican Diaspora, the American Dream, a way station, a landing point, a current wasteland and a former oasis – form themes that inform our view of life in all of our cities. Through his unique gift for telling stories that combine sadness and humor, Montoya invites us to laugh as we consider our hedonism and longings rooted in our sense of loss. The River is a wild, fun, ecstatic trip; a vision quest that slips easily and often across the border between mourning and hilarity.

In addition to being part of Montoya’s Border Series, the co-creation nestles under the umbrella of the Triangle Lab’s Califas project, a 2013 series of community encounters to gather, share, and perform the stories we tell about our journeys home. Cal Shakes’ season opening production of Montoya’s American Night, the next piece presented under the Califas project, continues the stories of Californians with The River director San José and cast member Brian Rivera in leading roles. Other 2013 Califas projects present art created in collaboration with community arts organizations throughout the state and along Highway 99, a trade route through the roadside towns that lie between California’s border and its northern cities.

In this excerpt, Brian Rivera as the ghost of LUIS, and his wife ESME (played by Anna Maria Luera) still living across the US/Mexico Border reunite for the last time. They are joined by Lance and Javier (Christopher Ward White and Lakin Valdez) who have connected to their story and journey. Live music by Steve Boss.

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