Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 8:43 a.m.
Los Angeles DREAMer Alex Alpharaoh
Photo by Youthana Yuos
After nearly a century of losing audiences to the convenience of more viewer-friendly forms of dramatic narrative, the theater’s existential survival has boiled down to a single defining question: What can the stage still deliver that movies, Netflix, video gaming or the cyber entertainment of the future cannot?
One answer, as writer-performer Alex Alpharaoh compellingly demonstrates in WET: A DACAmented Journey, is the unmediated authenticity of the live storyteller. Alpharaoh’s 90-minute solo performance is a singularly moving chronicle of the threat posed by the election of Donald Trump to the country’s 750,000 young immigrants called DREAMers. It’s a stirring autobiographical account of personal heroism in the face of everyday bigotry that is an act of courage in itself.
In what is perhaps the evening’s most trenchant irony, Alpharaoh matter-of-factly announces that merely by turning up at the theater, he has put himself in legal harm’s way. It’s not hyperbole. Though the White House announced in June that Trump had indefinitely put on hold his campaign pledge to immediately terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama program that gives temporary work permits and deportation protection to children smuggled into the United States by their parents, Trump Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have in the past singled out for arrest DACA holders who’ve been critical of U.S immigration policy.
Alpharaoh’s harrowing revelations of what it means to live one’s…
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