Photo Credit: Lidia Pires

LOS ANGELES — Award-winning Writer/Producer/Director Nancy De Los Santos-Reza’s play titled Undocumented Alien Children Estimated Time of Arrival To Be Determined aka “UAC ETA TBD,” returns for two encore performances, May 22-23, at the Roy and Edna Disney RedCAT in Los Angeles.

A free performance created by the Youth Theater Program of the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) and Plaza de la Raza, “UAC ETA TBD” is the work of many hearts and minds including students, teachers, and those who shared their stories with us.

 De Los Santos-Reza wrote “UAC ETA TBD” in collaboration with the students in the Plaza de la Raza Youth Theatre Workshop, and the Cal Arts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), as part of their 25th anniversary celebration. A prolific writer, this production marks De Los Santos-Reza’s fifth collaboration with the CAP program, including “Quinceañera Means Forever” and “Behind The Scenes Drama.”

De Los Santos-Reza wrestled with the harshness of the reality when writing “UTA ETA TBD,” but she was determined to overcome whatever challenges she encountered. A brave and committed writer, in “UAC ETA TBD,” De Los Santos explores the plight of the thousands of Central American refugee children and teens facing the hardship of fleeing the violence of their homelands to come to the U.S. and, upon arriving here, are met with new challenges and threats of deportation.

“I am so very proud of this production. The young thespians are terrific. B.J. Dodge directs her 25th CAP play…and all around… it’s just darn good theatre,” declared De Los Santos-Reza.

With so much political controversy over the plight of these undocumented children, on one side they are seen and judged as if they were criminals, drug mules or disease carrying kids, while on the other side, they are seen as political ploys who deserve nothing less than our empathy and compassion.

“The subject is timely and dramatic,” said De Los Santos-Reza, “but the play is family-friendly.”

The subject matter took De Los Santos down dark roads of fear, danger, and hopelessness. Her play teaches that whoever takes that first step away from their homeland reaches out towards hope. Is it Destiny? Is it Fate? Or is it God’s hand, as Free Wheel, nurturing the desire in all of us for a safe place to live and grow?

“Read any article or listen to any news story about the plight of these young children and teens,” states the award-winning writer-activist. “You’ll be shocked by the horrific situations these youngsters are fleeing. Life and death choices they must make on a daily basis, with few solutions pointing to life. My charge was to tell this story for a youth theater audience. My choice was to create a scenario that would offer the opportunity for the audience to have empathy as fellow human beings for these youngsters, and not see them as political pawns.”

When not contributing to changing society as a playwright, De Los Santos-Reza writes on a number of projects. She just finished working on the writing staff for the HULU hit show, “East Los High.” She’s currently developing a number of projects including a romantic comedy, a campus comedy, and a real life drama.

Her film credits include: “Selena and My Family/Mi Familia” (Associate Producer); writing credits: “One Hot Summer” (Lifetime Movie Network), “Gotta Kick It Up!” (The Disney Channel), the Showtime series “Resurrection Blvd.”, and PBS series “American Family.” She received a 2009 Imagen Award for Best Live Theatrical Production as one of the writers for “Eight Ways to Say I Love My Life” and she’s a co-writer and co-producer of the Cinemax/HBO critically acclaimed feature documentary, “The Bronze Screen: One Hundred Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema.” She was recently honored with the NCLR ALMA Award for Outstanding Industry and Community Service.

The CAP/Plaza de la Raza Youth Theater Program provides high school and middle school students with instruction in all areas of theater arts—and every year, for the last 25 years, a guest playwright has worked with the students to create an original work of theater. Students work with CalArts’ theater students, director B.J. Dodge, and choreographer and CalArts School of Theater faculty member Marvin Tunney to realize an original production.

To make a reservation or for more information, call (323) 275-1204 (9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday) or (626) 485-8705.