Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Published in Hanford Sentinel on September 17, 2020
My family has a small pistachio farm which we harvested recently. I can often be seen on a 1957 Ford tractor disking and surveying the trees. Years ago, I wrote a play called The Migrant Farmworker’s Son. When I am in the field I can’t help thinking of that play. The scenery is the same. The sweat is the same. Dust gathering on clothes is the same. The sun hot and scorching is the same. In actuality, the play is relevant now as it was when I wrote it. What is curious is when I am in the field, or on the tractor, I feel like I am in that play.
The Migrant Farmworker’s Son was published in 1996 by Dramatic Publishing. The action of the play takes place in 1988 when Nintendo games were the big thing and rap music was becoming popular with the teens. Things have changed since then, but father and son and old and young generational conflicts remain the same.
I wrote the play in Yuma, Arizona where I worked as a kindergarten teacher. Some of my students were migrant farmworker’s children. When I drove home to the army base where my husband was stationed, I saw workers in the fields. I saw tractors churn by. I saw trailers filled with cantaloupes and lettuce. I wasn’t a playwright when I first arrived in Yuma. I became one while living there. Three full length plays were written in my years in Arizona.
The Migrant Farmworker’s Son is a play I’d like to produce at Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. The play would suit the area very well. There’s a migrant population. There’s agricultural emphasis. The main characters have a son obsessed with rap and wants to be a rap star. People in the area might see their story in this play. In Bakersfield, the play must have felt right for the community. It was produced at Ovation Theater two years ago. I found out about the production only by accident after the final show. I would have loved to have seen it.
When the play was produced in San Francisco in 2013 the director said audience members remarked that the play was a Mexican American version of Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Death of Salesman. Perhaps for the main character having a conflict with his son and wanting to give his family financial support. I got to see this production. It was fabulously directed by the talented David Acevedo.
At some point, HMTC would produce this show. It’s perfect for our area. What I like about stage plays is you feel like you are in it. That’s what makes live stage plays remarkable.
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer
August 28, 2020