By Gregg McQueen
Carmen Barbosa remembers the fear.
The 80-year-old Washington Heights resident came to the United States from Cartagena, Columbia in 1981. She wished to start a new life after her husband passed away, and find more consistent employment.
There was uncertainty – and alarm – at first.
“I didn’t know anyone here,” she recalled. “I didn’t even know the person who picked us up at the airport. We didn’t even know if we were going to a safe place. It was a frightening experience.”
Barbosa is now sharing her experience as part of a new play by People’s Theatre Project (PTP), an Inwood-based community arts organization that combines theater with a social justice perspective.
Somos Más (“We Are More”) features six immigrant performers who present their personal stories through dialogue, music, and physical movements.
“Immigrants, when we first arrive here, we have left everything behind to build a new life,” said Barbosa. “It’s important to tell that story.”
Somos Más is set in a dystopian nation where people are forced to assimilate, explained Zafi Dimitropoulou, the play’s Director and PTP’s Artistic Director. As the play evolves, six immigrants come together in secret to assert their collective strength.
“It’s about reclaiming our humanity,” Dimitropoulou said. “We don’t focus on the hate or negative feelings. It’s about a joyful revolution.”
Somos Más will be performed on September 20 at 8 p.m. and September 21 and 22 at 2 p.m. at the Pregones Theater, 575 Walton Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451.