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The 2018-19 theater season will explore growing up and living in a thriving community

PHIL HAWKINS - From left, Carter Gubbins, Josy Cabrera and Denise Garcia are part of the all-female cast of "Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Pinata Woman and Other Superhero Girls Like Me"  — a production illuminating the coming of age experiences of girls growing up in East Los Angeles in the '90s.
The opening production of Woodburn High School's 2018-19 theater season has been two years in the making.

In 2016, Woodburn drama teacher Caleb Thurston took a group of students to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see a play by Luis Alfaro called "Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles."

"Myself and the whole student group loved it," Thurston said. "It was so powerful and it was about this Latino immigrant experience in Los Angeles. It was very relevant and had this kind of poetic style."

Thurston felt Alfaro's style and themes were an ideal fit for Woodburn's student body and this year, the high school's theater program will open its season with another Alfaro play — "Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Pinata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me."

The play is a series of short poems, monologues and vignettes that highlight the coming of age experiences of adolescent girls growing up in East Los Angeles in the 1990s.

"We always try to do something that represents our community, either bilingual or cross cultural, to try to tell the stories that matter to the kids, and that fits this play really well," Thurston said.

The all-female cast explores the realities of young women growing up in an environment full of painful, wistful and amusing experiences of urban adolescence, Thurston said.

"What does it mean to be Latina? What does it mean to be part of a community? Part of a family? And a lot of those things ring true in our community," Thurston said.

The play is the first of three productions this school year surrounding the theme "Together We Rise," which seeks to explore the daily life of growing up in thriving communities.

"Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Pinata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me" will run for two weekends beginning this Friday and Saturday, following by shows on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.

All shows begin at 7 p.m. and will take place at the Woodburn High School Auditorium.

Tickets are $5 for general admission and can be purchased from the box office before each performance.

Phil Hawkins can be reached at 503-765-1194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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