PLACAS: THE MOST DANGEROUS TATTOO
Starring Ric Salinas of Culture Clash.
A RICHMOND PREMIERE
Limited Engagement Four Performances Only: January 21-24, 2016
Where: East Bay Center for the Performing Arts Iron Triangle Theater.
Directed by the Latino Theater Company’s Fidel Gomez, PLACAS (barrio slang for body tattoos) is a bilingual tale of fathers and sons, transformation and redemption that illuminates one man’s determination to reunite his family after surviving civil war in El Salvador, immigration, deportation, prison and street violence.
PLACAS stars Ric Salinas, a founding member of the critically acclaimed performance group CULTURE CLASH, as Fausto “Placas” Carbajal, a Salvadoran immigrant who tries to reclaim his family while letting go of his gangbanger past.
PLACAS is written by acclaimed spoken word artist Paul S. Flores. Flores interviewed more than 100 gang members, parents and intervention workers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and El Salvador to develop material for the script. Salinas’ role of Fausto is loosely based on the experiences of ex-gang member Alex Sanchez, founder of the Los Angeles based violence prevention non-profit Homies Unidos.
WHEN: Thursday-Sunday January 21-24, 2016
WHERE: East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
339 11th St, Richmond, CA 94801
TICKETS: $15 in advance; $15 at the door
($5 off discount for students and groups).
INFORMATION: For info call 510-234-5624, 415-399-9554 or visit www.placas.org
In street culture, placas signify an individual member’s unswerving loyalty to the gang and also serve as a mechanism to create a new identity. Using Fausto’s tattoos as a metaphor, PLACAS explores the process of tattoo removal as one possible path for former gang members to move forward. Laser tattoo removal is a complicated and painful procedure that can take years to conclude, and it is especially risky for ex-gang members because their former comrades see it as betrayal and may target those who seek treatment. Partly because of this risk, gang prevention workers, police, probation officers, judges and caseworkers see tattoo removal as a legitimate step gang members can take toward reintegrating into civil society.
Salinas, who was born in El Salvador, said of the play, “Living in San Francisco in the 1980s, a time when the war sent many refugees to places like San Francisco’s Mission District, I saw first-hand how this wave of immigrants impacted the neighborhoods and how the realities of trying to adapt to living in the U.S. impacted Salvadorans. I was almost killed trying to prevent gang violence in front of my home in the Mission, so it is something I have first-hand experience with. I agreed to play Fausto because I’m hoping that by telling his story, it will allow audiences, old and young, to experience and learn about the consequences when loved ones become caught up in gang activity.”
“What a gang member has to go through to be human is huge,” Flores explained in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s a mangled sense of identity, of life outside the gang clashing with the code of the gang. How do you recover from that? How does a man like Fausto recover his humanity after a lifetime of war and violence?”
Background of play:
PLACAS was first produced at the San Francisco International Arts Festival in 2012, and has since traveled to over a dozen cities including Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York. Co-commissioned by four nationally respected Latino arts organizations (MACLA, Su Teatro, Pregones Theatre Company and GALA Hispanic Theatre) through the National Performance Network, PLACAS was developed with the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) as a pro-active community response to the issue of transnational gang violence, presenting positive elements of Central American culture in the context of a hostile, anti-immigrant political environment.