Peace be with you!

My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.

Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!

*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*

*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"


Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Line in the Sand...the Premiere

So this evening was the premiere performance of The Line in the Sand, which is a CRS (Catholic Relief Services) sponsored production that we acted out. In August of 2005 CRS sent five writers and actors to the Arizona/Mexico border in investigate the immigration crisis. They meet with and spoke to people of diverse interests and perspectives - all who trying to grapple with this urgent and volatile issue. They interviewed about 60 people in total. The play takes those stories and selects 14 of those people for the play including: a border patrol agent, a volunteer at No More Deaths, a doctor in a coroner's office, an intern at the Mexican Consulate, a Arizona rancher, and of course migrants.

Our first performance was great. The lights were good and the live music was fantastic. I did forget any of my lines. And most importantly we told people's stories.

After about five weeks of practicing for it and tonight preforming it live before an audience, I realized that God wanted to do this play since the beginning of time. Okay I not going to go all theological on you all but I really did get that sense today. First I saw one of the first productions of The Line in the Sand every done when I was a student at LaSalle University in Philly. I was away from the play for 3 years before I saw it again. And then this summer I was asked to be an actor in it. At the opening performance tonight, I saw this familiar woman at the show. Sure enough it was Gina Pisasale - one of the original cast members of the show and one of the writer (picture on the left). I could not believe that she who actually spoke with the characters in Arizona and Mexico was here at the premiere of the show. I was floored. Then after the show I met Lynette Bernot who I had only met once before in my life. She is good friend of Diane DeGroat (they grew up together) and I met her one a Friday evening in Baltimore during my novitiate year (picture on the right). Sure enough Lynette is working at St. Mary's University in San Antonio and brought some of the students to the production. A small world and God's providence?? better believe it!!

The last time I acted was in 5th grade in a murder mystery. I was terrified then as I was tonight, but there was a difference tonight fear; I was in fear because my heart was in the play and I wanted us to do it justice. We were not just talking about illegals, undocumented, migrants, or however you choose to identify them, rather we are talking about human being. And this play gives testament to that fact. I was honored, blessed, graced, and forever changed by being a part of it. Who knows how many more performances we will have, one, two, twenty, or even fifty (we are for sure preforming it again on Tuesday)! What I do know is that the stories I was a part of; I will not forget.

I thank Ray, Fr. Leo, Richard, and Louisette for having me enter into this story of these people's lives once again. I thank MACC (Mexican American Cultural Center) and CRS for supporting us in this production. And last but not least, I thank God for the grace to have been a part of tonight and what will come ahead.

On behalf of OST's Teatro Migrante I say good night and God bless!

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