Seven years after its first production, “Esperanza y Luz” and the themes it explored were more relevant than ever in California’s Central Valley. Written and directed by Agustin Lira, in the 2009 version Lira rewrote the lead roles for women.
In the 2009 version, Merlinda Espinosa played Esperanza and Patricia Benavides played Luz. The other leads included Rosalva de la Cruz as CBS reporter Ana Smith, Rosemary Montes as the ruthless Patrona (Boss), and Patricia Wells as the dangerous Coyota who always overestimates her cleverness.
Other cast members include Aida Gonzales as Patrona’s Perro – the dog in the maquiladora, who takes pleasure in driving the workers beyond their breaking points; Agustín Lira as Emiliano, the only person who helps the women survive in the United States, and a rich supporting cast including Richard Stone is an ICE agent, President Bush, and a Fresno Police Officer; Christina Reyes as a factory worker, a waitress, a soldier, and a farmworker; and Joe Gaeta as a CBS cameraman, a factory worker, a soldier and a farmworker. Elsa Castillo was the technical assistant in this production, managing the music and sound, while Margaret Delgado is the stage and site manager.
The 2009 production of “Esperanza y Luz” was funded in part by the ACTA Living Cultures Grant, the Fresno Arts Council CEP, California Arts Council CPV and co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Fresno Center for Non-Violence and private donations/contributions of in-kind materials.