| Theater |

AMEXICA: Tales of the Fourth World Premieres Saturday at Mesa Arts Center

People jumping fences in the middle of the night. Armed Border Patrol agents driving along a long, metal fence. Minute-men sitting in lawn chairs staring out at a vast desert landscape. 

These are the images we think of when we hear the word "border" -- and that's what the new multi-discinplinary play AMEXICA: Tales of the Fourth World will work to disprove.

"It's always struck me that our perspective, especially in the United States, of the border is extremely two-dimensional," says James E. Garcia, the longtime Arizona journalist and playwright who co-wrote the play with poet Alberto Alvaro Rios. It's a very narrow and negative one, he says, when, in fact, the border region is anything but. 

The show, which premieres at the Mesa Arts Center on Saturday night, tells the story of an aspiring poet who goes on a journey to find his roots in a Nogales orphanage. He travels from San Diego Bay to the Gulf of Mexico to discover a region that Garcia says has a culture all its own. 

Garcia, who has lived on the border and still has family there, says there are 14 million people living in the border region. "And if it keeps growing at the rate that it is, it'll soon have a population the size of California in the next generation," he says. "It will influence the culture to the North and to the South."

The show, directed by Dr. Barbara Acker, features music by hip hop/Latin composer Quetzal Guerrero and choreography by Michele Ceballos, founder of Opendance -- not to mention the poetry of Garcia's co-author, Alvaro Rios, a Regent's Professor at ASU who grew up in the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

Amexica premieres on Saturday, October 22 and runs on weekends until November 6. Tickets are available on-line here for $20 a piece. 

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