News Release

Santa Ana College Presents Four Performances of Josefina Lopez’s “Detained in the Desert” on Nov. 5, 6, 19, and 20


Santa Ana College Theatre Department has announced its latest production—Detained in the Desert by Josefina Lopez. This one-act play is a timely reflection of the immigration debate being played out on the national stage. Detained in the Desert offers a satirical look at the anti-immigrant laws that brings together two completely different people on opposite ends of the immigration debate through a karmic debt that must be paid. The playwright, Josefina Lopez, also wrote Real Women Have Curves.

This production represents the first time that Santa Ana College is taking a play outside of the college campus. The production company has never performed in what is referred to in the theatrical world as a “found space.” A found space is a nontheatrical space -- a church, a warehouse, courtroom, a carpenter’s shop -- which is used for production. According to Santa Ana College theatre professor Chris Cannon, Detained in the Desert’s director, it is experience-based theatre in which the space becomes part of the production that the audience participates in.


November 5, 6, 20 at 7:30 p.m.
 Phillips Hall Black Box Theatre (P-105)
Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706

November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
SAC ARTS Gallery
Santora Building, 2nd Floor
207 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701


When asked about Detained in the Desert, Lopez said, “I decided to write this play to show the ridiculousness of this law (i.e. SB 1070 passed in Arizona) but also to explore the motives of ‘hate talk’ which in the past few years has led a 40% increase in hate crimes toward Latinos. When I read about the many hate crimes that have happened and the similarities between them, it made me wonder if the men at the forefront of this ‘hate talk’ and fear of immigrants are aware that they have blood on their hands. They have a right to freedom of speech, but they must realize that spreading hate causes more hate. All of us must realize the power of our words to separate humanity or bring humanity together.”

Cannon said, “It’s been six years and the hate rhetoric spawned by the passing of Arizona’s SB 1070 has only gotten worse now receiving a national platform in the current presidential election. I wanted to do this play at this time for two reasons: (1) remind us that this issue is unresolved and could lead to potential federal laws being passed that are similar to SB 1070 and (2) take a stand for immigrants . . . the United States is a country built on immigrants. We should be a leader in the world by the way we handle this issue.”


The cast, all residents of Santa Ana, include:
Sandi Belen: Emma Rivera
Lou Sanchez: Andrew Perez
Ernesto Martinez: Justin Lira
Matt Williams: Alex Castaneda
Milagros: Wendy Garibay
Saul/Tall Figure: Nate Castro
J.C./Short Figure: Daisy Tornel
Chuy/Medium Figure: Anthony Ramirez
Female Guard: Mary Roberts
Arizona Police Officer: Dom Collins
Carl Dunlop: Tyler Sypherd
Ken Beavers: Christian Sanchez
Filmmaker: Alicia Murillo
Cameraman: Aaron Figueroa
Artemio Hernandez/Interrogator: Rex Aguilar
Mrs. Artemio Hernandez: Leda Valencia
Adam/Young White Man 2/3: Jacobii Leal
Young White Man 1: Chris Arce
Young Mexican Man: Hector Salvador
Thelma: Megan Gallagher


Donations will be taken at the door.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more.

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503