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Cruise – Playwright’s Note

Playwrights Note

Matters of culture and identity have not always been a touchy subject. We often politicize what was once a given birthright, and as we progress as a society we have fought to remember the core elements that once made us unique and uniquely strong. The Cruise is, at the heart of it, a father and son story – but it is also a story of identity and cultural displacement. How many elements of our ancestral nature can we identify and which elements stand the test of time? In the Latino community, much has been written about the effects of assimilation, the willful blending of cultures, in order to negotiate and thrive in U.S. society.  What’s long been on my mind is how this progression works as both an attribute toward economic and social advancement and as a deviation from something more integral and necessary to our core existence. Each character in the play, despite their background, is searching for this definition of fitting in, of acclimating, in a dominant culture that is perceived to be holding all the cards. At times it may look like a mindless folly, what we do to feel comfortable and productive in our own skin. I think upon my own story, forged in East Los Angeles by my grandparents Ramón and Margarita, Pedro and Carmen. I recall with pride their laborious journey through the American experience, a path that paid dividends while nevertheless extracting its cultural toll. In contrast, my life has been starkly different, a child of suburban privilege, a solid public education, and social inclusion, despite a few misplaced suspicions here and there. How much have I gained? And how much have the characters in The Cruise gained? We are a nation of immigrants — as was Christopher Columbus. I wonder what the Arawaks thought when they saw those Spanish ships in their harbor? Was it a beacon of reflected sunlight they were bathed in, or a darker shadow of things to come?

— Jonathan Ceniceroz