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Carlos Cortés to Perform One-Man Play


Carlos Cortés to Perform One-Man Play

UCR professor emeritus will present his autobiographical play on Sept. 26 at the Riverside Art Museum.

(September 14, 2007)

Carlos Cortés

Carlos Cortés

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Carlos Cortés, UC Riverside professor emeritus of history, will perform his one-man, autobiographical play, “A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Cultural Rite of Passage,” at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave.

The one-hour play is being presented as part of the city’s observance of Race Equality Week. Admission is free.

Cortés wrote “A Conversation with Alana” four years ago and continues to rewrite portions of it. The play is part narrative, part flashbacks and part conversation with his daughter Alana, who is symbolized by an empty chair on stage.

The play presents his story of growing up as a young man of mixed ancestry in racially segregated, religiously divided, early post-World War II Kansas City, Mo. The son of a Mexican Catholic immigrant father and an American-born Jewish mother, whose parents came from Austria and Ukraine, Cortés had to learn to navigate Kansas City's rigid racial, ethnic and religious fault lines, while simultaneously dealing with the internal conflicts of his own divided family.

Cortés has performed “A Conversation with Alana” at nearly 60 universities, conferences and community events across the country.

He said he is surprised by the play’s popularity, but is pleased that people enjoy it.

“I hope they get some insight into the way things were 50 years ago, and a personal sense of how that affected one human being,” Cortés said.

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