Detained

Critics

LemonMeter

83 %

Reviews: 3

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

How do families stay together, even when they are kept apart? The Fountain Theatre presents a gripping new docudrama, a compilation of true stories that explores the rippling impact of mass deportations on families. The world premiere of Detained, written by 2021 Lorraine Hansberry Award-winning playwright France-Luce Benson and directed by Mark Valdez, winner of the 2021 Zelda Fichandler Award, opens February 19 at the Fountain Theatre. Performances will continue through April 10 with three public previews taking place February 16 through February 18.

Originally commissioned by immigration attorney Judy Rabinovitz of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Detained is based on interviews with longtime U.S. residents held in immigration detention, and with their family members, advocates, attorneys and representatives of ICE. Inspired by their stories, Detained explores how families fight to stay together as increasingly cruel U.S. immigration legislation keeps them apart through mass deportations and immigration detention centers. It offers a heart-wrenching and in-depth look at the human lives behind the policies, and celebrates the strength and determination of the ordinary people who must fight against an unjust system while keeping their hope and faith in humanity intact.

“All of the stories in this play are true, and they are heartbreaking,” says Benson. “The more people I met, the more time I spent with them, the more important it became to tell their stories. When you go through trauma, you want to be seen, to be given a voice. My own family immigrated to America in the 1970s, and my father received a humanitarian award for the work he did at Krome Detention Center in the ’80s and ’90s. This is his story too, and a way for me to honor the sacrifices he made for us.”

When Rabinovitz first approached Benson, Obama was still in office. Under his administration, more people were being deported than ever before. Since then, with harsher immigration legislation enacted under Trump and the current Covid-19 health crisis, the situation for many immigrants has become ever more dire. As more stories of injustice persist and legislation changes, so does the play.

“This play is a living document, and I’m constantly updating it,” Benson says. “People think that now that Biden is president, things are better. But thousands of people are still facing deportation every day. Many of these people have been living in this country for decades. They own houses, run businesses, pay taxes, have families.”

Characters in the play include a teenage foodie aspiring “chef-lebrity,” a U.S. Veteran, and a mother of two who works as a roofer in New York City. Together, their collective voices weave a compelling and complicated tapestry.

Performances of Detained take place February 19 through April 10 on Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. (dark Monday, Feb. 21). Three preview performances will take place on; Wednesday, Feb. 16; Thursday, Feb. 17; and Friday, Feb. 18, all at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25–$45; Pay-What-You-Want seating is available every Monday night in addition to regular seating (subject to availability). The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Patrons are invited to relax before and after the show at the Fountain’s indoor/outdoor café. Proof of booster vaccination will be required for admission. Masks, covering both mouth and nose, must be worn throughout the performance.

For reservations and information, call (323) 663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com

Reviews

My biggest criticism of this show would be how this show is told theatrically. Is the stand on stage and tell stories method the most optimal way to tell these stories? I think when your shown something instead of just talking about it these stories stick in our heads longer.

sweet-sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


It goes without saying to those in the know, that The Fountain Theatre is one of the preeminent producing venues in Los Angeles or, even the state, perhaps the nation and, arguably, in its “weight class,” the world.
So the very worst that can be said about Detained, now appearing on its stage, is: “Been there, seen that…. Seen that a lot.”

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


A new world premiere play, Detained, unravels some of these individual stories to exemplify the injustice and unfairness of a cruel, punitive system that ostensibly serves no great worthy purpose. The tapestry of humanity and incidents in the play leads a theatergoer to suspect that aside from interrupting life to make it miserable for these particular individuals, the torturous experience is designed largely to intimidate other immigrants. There are big profits to be made when your undocumented fast-food or domestic or packinghouse workforce are too afraid of deportation to ask for bathroom breaks, or a raise, or paid sick days.

From left, Will Dixon, Marlo Su, Jan Munroe / Jenny Graham
The assault on immigrants has undergone any number of phases over the years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The rhetoric against “illegals” usually heats up as election time approaches: Keep America safe from foreign drug dealers and rapists! Though common sense dictates that this is the strategy primarily promoted by the xenophobic right-wing, there is good statistical reason why Barack Obama has been dubbed “Deporter in Chief.”

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


My biggest criticism of this show would be how this show is told theatrically. Is the stand on stage and tell stories method the most optimal way to tell these stories? I think when your shown something instead of just talking about it these stories stick in our heads longer.

sweet-sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


It goes without saying to those in the know, that The Fountain Theatre is one of the preeminent producing venues in Los Angeles or, even the state, perhaps the nation and, arguably, in its “weight class,” the world.
So the very worst that can be said about Detained, now appearing on its stage, is: “Been there, seen that…. Seen that a lot.”

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


A new world premiere play, Detained, unravels some of these individual stories to exemplify the injustice and unfairness of a cruel, punitive system that ostensibly serves no great worthy purpose. The tapestry of humanity and incidents in the play leads a theatergoer to suspect that aside from interrupting life to make it miserable for these particular individuals, the torturous experience is designed largely to intimidate other immigrants. There are big profits to be made when your undocumented fast-food or domestic or packinghouse workforce are too afraid of deportation to ask for bathroom breaks, or a raise, or paid sick days.

From left, Will Dixon, Marlo Su, Jan Munroe / Jenny Graham
The assault on immigrants has undergone any number of phases over the years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The rhetoric against “illegals” usually heats up as election time approaches: Keep America safe from foreign drug dealers and rapists! Though common sense dictates that this is the strategy primarily promoted by the xenophobic right-wing, there is good statistical reason why Barack Obama has been dubbed “Deporter in Chief.”

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review