by Silvia Rodriguez
aliens in a cage
First performed at Arizona State University in April of 2008, the performance ‘Aliens in the Cage’ depicts human beings confined inside cages, representing the criminalization of undocumented immigrants. Inspired by Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s ‘The Couple in a Cage,’ ‘Aliens in the Cage’ created controversy on campus when Teatro Nopalero put on an impromptu performance. Security quickly came to the site to control angry college students and professors who began yelling at the performers. The main performers were undocumented and risked detention and deportation by participating in this action.
Teatro Nopalero started in 2006, when Arizona legislators began passing anti-immigrant measures targeted at all members of the family with the goal of making existence impossible for undocumented families. A group of college students from across the valley decided to use theater as a tool for informing and creating action in the community. We have collaborated with community members at schools, churches, community centers, and at national conferences. Some of our favorite performances have been Cuando el Mojado se Seca, La Tripa no Sabe de Leyes ni Fronteras, Aliens in the Cage, Las Comadres y El Sheriff, Al Otro lado de la Tortilla, and Cholas Going to College amongst others.
Coco Fusco, “The Other History of Intercultural Performance,” TDR: Journal of Performance Studies 38, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 148.
contributor 2014 first edition
Silvia Rodriguez Vega is a community engaged ARTivist (Artist & Activist) Scholar. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the first cohort of the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. She received the class Marshall award from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011 where she earned a Masters of Arts in Education. She graduated from Arizona State University with a double major in Political Science and Transborder Chicano/a, Latino/a studies in 2009.
Silvia was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she experienced first-hand discrimination against the immigrant community. Silvia has over fifteen years of experience using the arts for social change and community empowerment. Silvia is the founder of Teatro Nopalero, a group of activist actors who bring forth a dignified and humorous approach to deal with social issues at the grassroots level.