Running time: TBD

When Andrea finds a hand-scrawled note from a Chinese sweatshop worker in the lining of her designer coat, she sets off on a passionate journey to free him. Little does she know that this journey to freedom will take her away from those she loves and down a rabbit hole of globalization and into the complicated world of modern slavery hidden in plain sight.

Part of the series: The Construction Zone

eseteatro eSe Teatro empowers local Latino artists to create, produce, and present professional theatre in English, Spanish, bilingual, and Spanglish. We strive for inclusion and self definition of our artists, representing "all the colors in the rainbow of brown" to educate audiences about the many expressions of our Latinidad in the U.S. eSe employs artists and provides them a high visibility professional platform within Seattle mainstream theatre. Our strong social component brings theatre to under-served Latino communities such as monolingual, low-income, homeless, and at-risk youth audiences. For more information on eSe Teatro, visit their website at eseteatro.org and Facebook at www.facebook.com/eSeTeatro .

Find out more about eSe Teatro's artistic director, Rose Cano, in this article by The Seattle Times (English) and in an article recently published in both English and Spanish on LaRazaNW.com. Read about Latino artists and the Latino theatre scene on HowlRound.

Kathy Hsieh is an award-winning actor, writer, and director. She has directed for ACT’s Young Playwrights Program, ReAct, SIS Productions, 14/48 Productions, Annex Theatre, Pilgrim Center for the Arts, and NWAAT. She is a Co-Executive Producer for SIS Productions and works for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Next, she can be seen in The World of Extreme Happiness at Seattle Public Theater. She has been honored by the National Association of Asian American Professionals in Seattle as their Artist of the Year and as an actor by ArtsFund in 2003, featured in The Dramatist Magazine as “50 to Watch” in 2007, received “A Special Award of Recognition” by The Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Awards for Excellence in Playwriting and Verizon’s Asian Pacific American Bash’s Innovator Award in 2012, is the 2015 International Examiner Community Voice Awardee in the Arts, received a Seattle Times Footlight Award and a Gypsy Award for acting in 2015, and was nominated for an Elly Award for acting in 2016.

CZ_2017_Elaine_RomeroElaine Romero has had her plays presented at the Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kennedy Center, across the U.S. and abroad. Recent commissions include Modern Slave (Ford's Theatre), Title IX (Arizona Theatre Company), and A Work of Art (Goodman Theatre). Publishers: Samuel French, Playscripts, and Vintage Books. Graveyard of Empires (Blue Ink Playwriting Award) premiered at 16th Street Theater alongside A Work of Art which premiered at Chicago Dramatists in conjunction with the Goodman Theatre. She is working on the final play of her war trilogy. Her Arizona/Mexican border trilogy includes WetbackMother of Exiles, and Title IXModern Slave was given staged readings during the 2017 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and the Road Theatre in LA. Title IX, which looks at the insidious nature of sexual inequality, was featured in the 2017 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Romero is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She holds her MFA from UC Davis. She is an Assistant Professor in School of Theatre, Film & Television at the University of Arizona.

Rose Cano, Artistic Director of eSe Teatro, reached out to Elaine Romero, playwright of Modern Slave, for a brief Q&A about her work. As the national movement vehemently updates the landscape and narrative of Latino (o/a/x) theatre, from the corner in the PNW eSe Teatro believes in making important contributions to that narrative and to the "American" Theatre.

If you have never had a play produced in Seattle, what are your ideas about the Latino theatre scene in Seattle in terms of opportunities for Latino artists?  And in the Northwest?

This is my first opportunity to work in Seattle, which is crazy, because most of my family lives in the Northwest and I’m there a lot, and I lived there for many years. I graduated from high school in Oregon and have my B.A. in Creative Writing from Linfield College I have always considered the Latinx theatre scene to have strong individuals, such as Rose Cano and Olga Sanchez.  I have worked with Milagro in Portland, and I’ve also watched eSe Teatro, and it has always moved me that Latinx artists continue to make this work in all communities. And as a high school kid living in rural Oregon there were times, when it was tough, when it felt like the Northwest would never diversify, but it is, and the world is changing. My impression is that the growing Latinx scene is a game-changer for communities. And plays, such as Modern Slave, that bring together Latinx and non-Latinx characters in a diverse world better reflect our reality than any monolithic representation of Latinx characters.

If you have had your work produced here in Seattle (or the Northwest), do you feel that there is sufficient Latino talent to do your work?  Was/ is there enough audience and cultural context?

I have been happy with the talent I’ve been able to attract in my previous experiences in Portland. I think in Portland, Latinx has a broader definition than there might be in other areas. I have always witnessed a true effort to develop artists. I did feel that there was more room for culture context, but that the reception in the Northwest has always been about the universality of our work. Often people tell me that my characters could be anybody. They don’t have to be Latinx. And I’m sure that’s meant as an encouragement, but they are actually Latinx, and I am, and we are, and our experiences are universal. So, yes, that’s the point. We could be anybody, but we are actually somebody. And this is who we are.

Do you consider the work produced in this area to be part of a national Latin theatre movement or existing on its own?

I see it as part of the Latinx national scene. Each piece of the festival will speak for itself, but their inclusion in this ground-breaking festival speaks to a national groundswell of Latinx theatre. The careful curatorial process that eSe Teatro and ACT have undertaken has made the festival even more meaningful because the play selection asks the question, what is a Latinx play? The answer is many things, many stories, with many types of characters. That is the message that the national theatre community needs to hear. By joining the national Latinx community in producing plays by Latinx writers of all kinds, The Construction Zone becomes one of the expanders of the conversation. To be at the forefront of what Latinx theatre might be and become is a wonderful place to push the national conversation forward.

Do you feel that Latino theatre artists in Seattle and the NW are respected nationally and considered part of a bigger movement?

They are deeply respected nationally. Latinx playwrights want to work in the Northwest. The national community wants to know what work is being done here and to intersect with that work. Nothing is wasted. Honestly, I see Latinx artists in the Northwest as holding up our communities in very powerful ways. It is not an easy choice to choose to make Latinx art in a community with few Latinx members. It speaks to the commitment of the art. Our presence in the Northwest opens up a whole new worldview. We don’t even know what it is yet, but it has the potential to be something exciting. It’s a whole new alchemy.

What are your hopes and dreams for this region in terms of the theatrical landscape?

Because the Latinx community has grown so much across the country, I see the region as having the opportunity to be part of the voice that defines the future of Latinx community.

It is my greatest hope that the work will grow and that many Latinx visions will be produced in Seattle, and that the presentation of these works will grow a profound conversation about Latinx people in the U.S., and that through this conversation, there will be a deep sense of knowing the body of work of Latinx playwrights. It is my hope that Seattle will feel enriched for having experienced these works, and see the uniqueness of the work while recognizing their universality. And to the extent that these works invite more diverse communities to the work, that the inclusiveness of these plays will model what a play can do to include and not exclude. May these Latinx plays be a beacon of light for our future.