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BEST AFTERNOON AT THE THEATER Phoenix 2007 - In a Glass House

When you step inside the lunchtime theater space at the Herberger in downtown Phoenix, you never know what you're getting (unless you've pre-ordered lunch; then you can be sure of your turkey sandwich). On a hot August afternoon, we had a particularly memorable experience, watching James E. Garcia's new work, In a Glass House, about the life of former Arizona Governor Raul Castro.

As Garcia would want us to quickly point out, the play was only being workshopped. A full production will premi?re sometime soon, he promises. And we can't wait. Castro was Arizona's first (and only, to this day) Hispanic governor, and his tenure (although brief, from 1975-77) was fascinating, topped only by the stories of his youth and his time as ambassador to El Salvador, Colombia and Argentina.

We don't want to ruin the story, if you don't know it already. We just want to say that you must see the play when Garcia premi?res it. We hope Marcos Najera (full disclosure: he now writes for us at New Times) is in the cast. He did a terrific job in the workshop. And we hope you're there for a performance where the governor happens to be in attendance. The day we saw In a Glass House, we had a good view of Governor Castro, throughout. The old guy's now in his 90s but is looking relatively spry. He took the stage afterward for a Q&A and repeated the quote that opens the play: "I don't want to be loved. I want to be respected." He got that, certainly, from Garcia. "Tears came to my eyes," Castro said, "reminiscing about my life."

Ours, too.

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