OCEANSIDE — Frida Villeda has come a long way since she first enrolled at MiraCosta College. “I was so nervous back then. I wanted to be a part of the theater department but I was terrified to audition.” Now graduated and a theater major at the University of California San Diego, she’s returning to MiraCosta as the assistant director of “14,” a play written by Jose Casas that consists entirely of monologues.
Villeda credits MiraCosta professor Tracy Williams for pushing her beyond a hesitant (and nervous) new student into an active participant of the Theatre Department. “I took a voice and diction class with Tracy at first. She was so passionate about her work she literally glowed. It was hard not to be inspired. Then I took acting with Eric Bishop, who turned out to be just as passionate as Tracy. It was a gift to learn from teachers so dedicated to their craft and their students.”
The opportunity to work with theater department Professor Eric Bishop is a dream come true. “I can’t believe I’m working with him now,” Villeda said.” Bishop is equally complimentary of Villeda. “Frida is a passionate, undocumented artist who wants to create meaningful theater, advocating equity, compassion, and justice for under-represented communities.”
“14” is inspired by a tragic event that happened in May 2001, when a smuggler abandoned 30 Mexicans crossing the border near Yuma, Arizona, resulting in 14 of them dying from dehydration. The play is based on public accounts and interviews Casas conducted with Arizonans and Mexicans to shed light on immigration, race, and public policy.
“The monologues capture different perspectives on immigration and race. It’s very contemporary and relevant. The play makes you think. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your viewpoint,” Villeda said.
Villeda adds, “As a Mexican immigrant, “14” really spoke to me. I started crying the first time I read it. Now, I can’t wait to share the story with the audience.”
MiraCosta College Theatre Department presents “14” through May 9. The play is being offered without cost. Free tickets for scheduled streaming performances may be reserved online at miracosta.edu/14.