San Francisco International Arts Festival,
Laney College Theater and Paul S. Flores present
PLACASThe Most Dangerous Tattoo Starring Ricardo Salinas of Culture Clash
A Play by Paul S. Flores developed with & directed by Michael John Garcés
Laney College Theater,
900 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94607
tickets & dates
Wed March 26, 2014 at 8:00pm (sold out)
$12 - $15 General Admission
Thur-Sat March 27 - 29, 2014 at 8:00pm
$20 - $40 Assigned Seatingt
PLACAS stars Ric Salinas as Salvadoran immigrant Fausto Carbajal, a now middle-aged ex-gang member recently released after nine years in prison. As a requirement of his parole Fausto must remove the tattoos that mark him as a member of his gang. Wearied by what has been a lifetime of violence, he accepts the terms. He is determined to reunite his family, traumatized by three decades of war, forced migrations and street crime. He returns to San Francisco to live with his mother, a war refugee, and hopes to re-unite with his ex-partner, Claudia and their now teenaged son, Edgar. Fausto visits Claudia and Edgar. But Edgar, who has not seen his father for most of his life, resents Fausto and displays disturbing character traits that remind Fausto of himself in his youth.
It is clear that the reunion will be difficult. Fausto realizes that his son is in danger of being initiated into a rival gang when Edgar is arrested for carrying a gun to school and placed on probationary house arrest. Fausto attempts to persuade Edgar against joining the gang and offers to move the family out of the neighborhood, but Edgar runs away. Fausto must find Edgar before the police do. His process of transformation is both physically and emotionally painful, but can he save himself, and is it enough and in time to save his son?
These performances of PLACAS are supported in part by generous funds from:
Media and Community sponsors:
PLACAS (barrio slang: a code word for graffiti tags, a nickname or body tattoos) is a stage drama about family, transformation and redemption that focuses on a Salvadoran former gang member in the barrio trying to reclaim his family while letting go of his past. Set in today's San Francisco, it explores the benefits and risks of tattoo removal for gang members thru one man's determination to reunite his family after surviving civil war in El Salvador, immigration, deportation, prison and street violence.
PLACAS focuses on inter-generational relationships between young men and their fathers and uses the metaphor of tattoo removal as a way of moving forward and as a path to a possible solution.
In street culture tattoos (placas) signify an individual member’s unswerving loyalty to the gang and also serve as a mechanism to create a new identity. Laser tattoo removal is a complicated and painful procedure that can take years to conclude. It is especially risky for ex-gang members, as their former comrades see it as betrayal and may target those who seek treatment. Partly because of this risk, gang prevention workers, police, probation ofiicers, judges and case workers see tattoo removal as a legitimate step gang members can take toward reintegrating into civil society.
PLACAS was developed 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.
Flores began researching PLACAS in 2009, interviewing 100 gang members, parents and intervention workers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and in El Salvador. Ric Salinas, a founding member of the critically acclaimed performance group Culture Clash, was approached to play Fausto, a role loosely based on a real person named Alex Sanchez. Now in his 40s, Sanchez is an ex-gang member who founded the non-profit Homies Unidos and who worked closely with Flores to set up interviews with gang members during his research. With Garces directing, PLACAS features some of the country’s leading exponents of Latino theatre.
Four nationally respected Latino arts organizations (MACLA, Su Teatro, Pregones Theatre Company and GALA Theatre) co-commissioned the play through the National Performance Network. Funding for the creation of PLACAS was also received from National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, Columbia Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, California Arts Council, Bernard Osher Foundation, Puffin Foundation and the Creative Work Fund: A program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, supported by ArtPlace, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation. These performances are supported by the California Arts Council, the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the Alameda County Arts Commission.