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Community Fiesta Event Kicks Off Friday In Independence, 'Un Carol' Production Is Friday & Saturday

Community engaged theater Sanctuary Stage explores Indy’s Latino community in 'Un Carol' production

Carolina, played by Paula Tamayo, argues with a police officer that she has done nothing wrong, even though the store manager thinks she has. Community engaged theater Sanctuary Stage presents 'Un Carol' a production that explores Independence's Latino community through their eyes. It will be preformed this Friday and Saturday at the Independence Elk Lodge.

Carolina, played by Paula Tamayo, argues with a police officer that she has done nothing wrong, even though the store manager thinks she has. Community engaged theater Sanctuary Stage presents 'Un Carol' a production that explores Independence's Latino community through their eyes. It will be preformed this Friday and Saturday at the Independence Elk Lodge. Photo by Emily Mentzer.

Community Fiesta kicks off Friday

INDEPENDENCE — “Un Carol de Independence,” a play about the Hispanic community of Independence, takes place the night before the Community Fiesta.

The Fiesta is a two-day event, starting Saturday at 4 p.m. with vendors and entertainment, including the crowning of the Fiesta queen.

The event continues on Sunday at 9 a.m. with a Native American blessing followed at 11 by Mass. Throughout the day, entertainment will include Latino performers and dancers.

Special guest headliner El Genio Lucas will return beginning at 4:45 on Sunday afternoon and throughout the evening.

It will be fun for the whole family.

For more information, including the full schedule: www.ci.independence.or.us.Community Fiesta kicks off Friday

‘Un Carol’ takes viewers through past, present, future

INDEPENDENCE — Tis the night before the Community Fiesta, and Carolina is disenfranchised with her Hispanic roots.

She is brought home by Officer Banuelos, based on Independence police Sgt. Tino Banuelos, but played by a community member. Carolina, played by Paula Tamayo, got in trouble at the mall.

“She doesn’t feel like she fits in,” said Dan Stone, playwright with Sanctuary Stage. “She feels like the world is out to get her because she’s Mexican. She goes to the mall and gets in trouble because the store manager thinks she’s stealing, only because she’s Mexican, no other reason. And she wasn’t.”

What Carolina doesn’t know is she is in for a wild night, visits by ghosts who show her her past, present and future if she doesn’t change her ways.

The play, “Un Carol de Independence,” is a production by the Sanctuary Stage, a community engaged theater program through Linn-Benton Community College.

The show is the result of months of research in the Latino community of Independence and tells the stories of the community itself.

“It’s really not about the finished product to be honest with you,” Stone said. “It’s about the process. It’s about these individuals coming together, sharing their stories, learning how to create a play.”

Stone worked with members of Central High School’s Multicultural Leadership Club to really express the spirit of Hispanics in Independence.

“Interviewing older people, we hear about the problems with migrant workers, being illegal, but what about our kids,” Stone said. “What about the youth?”

After hearing repeatedly about the importance of the past, present and future of Hispanics in the Independence community, Stone said he realized their story mirrored Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol.”

Tamayo was the president of the Multicultural Leadership Club when the call came to participate in this project.

Many of the actors in “Un Carol” are Central students, members of the club. Tamayo, 18, said the club reached out to the community for more actors.

The play is about a teenage girl going through changes, Tamayo said.

“This is kind a refresher,” she said. “Make sure you don’t go down the wrong road; make sure you stay close to your family. You don’t know it all. It’s just one of those things — you need to make sure your morals are good. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

In the play, Tamayo’s character is visited by four spirits on the night before the Community Fiesta, starting with her grandmother. That was the hardest part for the young actress.

“I lost my grandma on my birthday,” she said. “That’s probably the hardest part. Otherwise, everything else is a lot of fun.”

Community engaged theater is different from traditional theater in a couple of ways, Stone said.

“A lot of times art and theater can be very selfish,” he said. “It’s about me; look at me; look at what I can do. This kind of work is about bringing people together. It’s about sharing information ... (about) different communities.”

Learn more

What: Un Carol de Independence, presented by Sanctuary Stage, a community engaged theater project of Linn-Benton Community College theater department.

When: Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Independence Elks Lodge, 289 S. Main St., Independence.

Admission: Pay what you can.

Of note: The play tells the stories of Hispanics living in Independence; how they arrived through the bracero program, how life is now, and what lies ahead.

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