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Herberger College graduate student nabs honors in Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival; next stop, Washington, D.C.

February 24, 2003

And the winner is… James Garcia, a journalist and playwright enrolled in the master’s program in playwriting at ASU’s Herberger College of Fine Arts.

His most recent work, “The Crossing,” recently won the regional competition at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. It was one of 60 submitted for the competition and one of 10 performed as part of the regional competition in Logan, Utah, on Feb. 15. 

As the winner of the KCACTF Region 8 festival, “The Crossing” now will compete at the KCACTF national festival in Washington, D.C., in late April. Grand prize is $1,000. Dramatic Publishing Company will publish the best play from each region.

“The Crossing” is the story of Esperanza Fuentes, a Mexican schoolteacher, who crosses illegally into the United States. She is the lone survivor from a group of 14 abandoned in the southern Arizona desert by smugglers. Agent Garza, a Border Patrol agent who came to the United States illegally as a boy, finds her.

The story was inspired by the death of 14 immigrants in the Arizona desert two years ago.

“The death of the immigrants hit me hard,” Garcia says. “When it happened, I wrote a newspaper column in which I imagined what the immigrants experienced in those final hours in the desert. That column eventually evolved into this short play.

“Frankly, one of the reasons I wrote that column and this play was to attract attention to the hundreds of people who die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border every year. More than 100 people will die in southern Arizona alone in the coming months. It's as if they've been sentenced to death for wanting to feed their families.”

Garcia has worked as a journalist since 1986. Most of his journalism experience has focused on the Southwest border and Mexico. He is a former Latin America Correspondent for Cox Newspapers and a former columnist for the New York Times News Service. Garcia was the founder of the Texas Hispanic Theater Festival (now defunct) and has written eight plays.

Garcia is the producing director for the Colores Actors-Writers Workshop in Phoenix, a new company devoted to Latino theatre. Its next play, “Borderlines,” will be performed at the Herberger Theater in July. A full-length staged reading of his play, “American Latino Redux,” will debut at the New Plays Marathon at ASU in late March.

Media Contact:
Megan Krause