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NewsMar 29, 2019

Performance highlights true story of Dreamer's struggles, triumph

Lesley welcomed Oregon theater ensemble to perform 'Judge Torres'

Judge Torres on stage with the mythical person behind her

By Georgia Sparling

In honor of both Women’s History Month and the ongoing efforts to bring diverse stories to campus, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Inclusion (MASI) brought Teatro Milagro’s “Judge Torres” to Marran Theater on Tuesday.

“Judge Torres” is a play literally taken from the headlines. It depicts the life of Xiaomara Torres, an El Salvadorian native who crossed the U.S. border at age 9, faced sexual abuse and the foster care system before attending college and eventually becoming a lawyer and judge.

Torres and two siblings stand on stage and look scared
Xiaomara Torres and her siblings face an uncertain future after being removed from their home after Torres reports sexual abuse.

After Torres’ story appeared in The Oregonian, the Portland-Oregon based Teatro Milagro asked playwright Milta Ortiz to interpret her story for the stage. Ortiz, herself El Salvadorian, incorporated elements of magical realism, in particular a mythical figure who guides the “MeToo Dreamer” on her journey of pain, uncertainty, healing and ultimately success as an advocate for children.

Torres was involved in play’s production and spent time with the cast before it debuted in Portland.

“I’m super honored and grateful to be able to tell her story,” actor Marissa Sanchez said in a Q&A session after the performance.

An actor in a black mask wearing a long, white lace dress.
A mythical figure from Mayan folklore guides Xiaomara Torres throughout the play.

MASI Director Jennifer Castro said the play’s themes overlaps with her office’s goals of providing “educational opportunities for students in particular to kind of gain some more knowledge, awareness and skills around different identities.

“This was a perfect thing to bring, not only because it focuses on a woman’s story but we think about those intersections in terms of race, status, income,” she said.

The Women’s Center and The Oxford Street Players co-sponsored this event.