One-man show highlights Salvadorans in nation’s capital

September 12, 2011

Poet, playwright and performer Quique Aviles will present his one-man show, “Los Treinta,” a research, oral history and performance project, at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 in McDaniel Lounge. The presentation, sponsored by McDaniel’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODAMA), explores the presence of Salvadorans in the Washington, D.C., area over the past 30 years using narrative, humor, music and interviews with community members to tell the story of the only Latino community in the U. S. where the majority is Central American.

“Quique is a dear friend from my days of working with the Salvadoran community in Washington, D.C. where so many powerful and inspiring first-hand stories of challenge and triumph throughout the Americas are an integral part of the vibrancy, strength and diversity of our nation's capital,” says ODAMA director Mahlia Joyce. “Quique's performance invites us to a deeper understanding of our shared legacy in the historical and current realities in El Salvador.”

Aviles was among the first wave of Salvadorans to land in D.C. in July of 1980. He was 15 and enrolled in ninth grade – and since then he has been both an observer and a participant in the phenomenon that forever changed the fabric of the city.

“I’ve written poems about our presence and created characters and brought their voices to the stage. With the 30-year anniversary, it became time to gather more voices, more stories, to ask questions and to reflect,” Aviles says. A University of Maryland student research team, guided by their professor Ana Patricia Rodriguez conducted one-on-one interviews with Salvadorans who immigrated at different times over the 30 years and from different experiences.

An essay Aviles wrote in the summer of 2010 became the basis for a performance piece that includes some of the characters and new poems he created while working with District of Columbia Arts Center director B. Stanley. Before touring, the performance was presented at GALA Theatre and the District of Columbia Arts Center in the summer and fall of 2010.