Sean San Jose alluded to his intentions when encouraging the actors to engage the audience, when he talked about building a sense of community. In this way, we were all a part of The Mission, we all saw what happened to La Miguelito, and we were all witnesses to the gentrification of the neighborhood. This reminded me of the debate surrounding the areíto, whether it was real or just a colonizer’s bastardization of a number of Indigenous practices. The areíto was not one thing to one group of people— it was many events and performances and concepts to many different people. Paul Scolieri describes how the areíto refers to any number of things, like just "singing, a festival, or a ceremony” (38).
At the beginning of each show, the actors would make an announcement that the audience was encouraged to vocally react in any way they saw fit. Sharpe stated that this is how theatre used to be and likened it to a church or worship experience where the whole community comes together and takes part in a ritual performance. During one performance, after the crew talked about how the audience didn't see them, Sharpe shared that an older white male repeatedly stated: "I see you." He felt moved enough to affirm the presence of the people of color onstage. Ultimately, La Miguelito could be classified as an areíto, has links to Indigenous performance, and blurs the lines between fantasy and reality when the actors talk to the audience. Who is then the actor? Who is the audience in that situation? Do we not all become both actor and audience in that situation? What is performance if not a connection between people resulting in a community?
In this way, Who Shot La Miguelito? is a representation of America as it is today. The United States has an ugly history of genocide of Native people, slavery of African people, and many other broken treaties and violations of human rights at home and abroad. But we also have a great deal of diversity in America, people from all around the world with all different kinds of backgrounds who may not have been present for said ugly history (both benefitting from and being harmed by it too), so the real question is: where do we go from here? That is a question that the play brought up for me, and it brought the same discomfort as the direct interactions between the actors and audience. The show's cast reflected our America, one with colors and cultures that are not all the same and do not necessarily mix together completely either. Hopefully, we can instill some sense of community in America one audience call-out at a time.
Alvarez, Asha I. “Abner Lozano Interview.” 19 Nov. 2019.
Alvarez, Asha I. “Alice Zhang Interview.” 11 Nov. 2019.
Alvarez, Asha I. "Anna Sharpe Interview." 18 Nov. 2019.
Alvarez, Asha I. “Crystal Haryanto Interview.” 12 Nov. 2019.
Alvarez, Asha I. "Daniel Baldauf Interview." 22 Nov. 2019.
Alvarez, Asha I. “Janette Keola Interview.” 14 Nov. 2019.
Brice, Anne. “In 'La Miguelito,' a Street Artist's Murder Mirrors Bay Area Gentrification.” Berkeley News, 18 Oct. 2019, news.berkeley.edu/2019/10/18/tdps-who-shot-la-miguelito/.
San Jose, Sean. “Who Shot La Miguelito? .” 2019, Berkeley, CA, TDPS.
Scolieri, Paul A. Dancing in the New World. University of Texas Press, 2013.
Valdez, Luis. "Mummified Deer and Other Plays." Arte Publico, 2005.