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A Trip Through American History With Culture Clash

Above: Richard Montoya in "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José," which runs through February 25 at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Aired 2/2/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

René Millán is an actor and plays the role of Juan José in "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José."

Richard Montoya is a founding member of Culture Clash. He wrote "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José."

Herbert Siguenza is a founding member of Culture Clash, and an actor performing in the play

Transcript

Culture Clash, the Latino performance troupe known for both its comic chops and social commentary, returns to La Jolla Playhouse with a new play, "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José." The play follows a young Mexican immigrant as he prepares to take his U.S. citizenship exam. While feverishly studying, he falls asleep listening to the radio and as he dreams, he is transported into various moments of U.S. history, both as a participant and as an observer.

The play was commissioned and developed as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "American Revolutions: The U.S. History Cycles," an ongoing program of commissioning new plays that explore moments of change in our nation's history. After much success at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where it premiered in June 2010, it now makes its San Diego debut at La Jolla Playhouse.

KPBS-FM talks to the play's creator and two of its stars about finding our identity as Americans through our shared history.

La Jolla Playhouse's "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José" runs through February 25 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre on the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla.

Evening Edition

Above: Richard Montoya, a founding member of Culture Clash who wrote "American Night: The Ballad of Juan José," and René Millán, who plays the role of Juan José in the play, talk with Evening Edition.

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