“Their Dogs Came With Them” play about Mexican Americans & urban renewal (Oct. 18 to 20)

by Helena Maria Viramontes

adapted for the stage by Virginia Grise

Directed by Marc David Pinate

OCTOBER 18 – 20, 2019

Friday & Saturday: Doors 5:30pm Showtime 6:00pm

Sunday: Doors 1:30pm Showtime 2:00pm

No Late Seating


Advance Tickets $20 General Admission $25 at the door

Advance Reservations Recommended. Limited seating.

Purchase Tickets HERE.

“What happens to a community, and the people that live there, when a series of four intersecting freeways are built right through the heart of their neighborhood? 

From the award-winning writer of Your Healing is Killing Me, blu, The Panza Monologues and Barrio Stories, Virginia Grise returns to Tucson with a new play about the destruction and displacement of a Mexican-American community, roaming dogs, quarantines, earthmovers and ancient voladores: Their Dogs Came with Them. Adapted from the novel by Helena María Viramontes, the play ascribes new meanings to gang life dramas, gender queer identities, and Chicana/o/x coming of age barrio tales. Much like the structure of a freeway, the lives of four youth intersect and intertwine, unearthing stories about the effects and aftereffects of the Vietnam War, displacement, and state violence. Tucson, where the most diverse and densely populated neighborhoods were destroyed to create the Convention Center in the late 1960s, is an ideal site for a play that asks its community to consider how decisions around city planning and urban development impact everyone. Borderlands Theater, in collaboration with a todo dar productions, is producing this site-specific performance October 18-20, directed by Marc David Pinate and aptly staged underneath the I-19 freeway in South Tucson.

Musical director Martha Gonzalez of the Grammy Award winning band Quetzal brings together band members Juan Perez (bass), Tylana Enomoto (violin) and legendary guitarist Bob Robles (Thee Midnighters) to perform an original score, specifically composed for the Tucson production, live at all performances. The musical score expresses the “East Los” sonic landscape of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The multifaceted sounds and songs of the score embody “East Los” history in an amalgamation of Mexican boleros, classic rock, doo-wop, R&B, and gospel. Like the 5, 10, and 710 freeways these sounds intersect in the heart of the Mexican American experience brought to life in Their Dogs Came with Them.

Grise’s partnership with Borderlands began in 2015, when she wrote a series of 20 vignettes for the Barrio Stories Project in Barrio Viejo. Later that year, Borderlands together with the National New Play Network (NNPN) commissioned Grise to write Their Dogs Came with Them. In 2017, she received an Agnese Nelms Haury Visiting Fellowship from the University of Arizona and additional support from NNPN to workshop an early draft of the script with community members in Arizona, whose own lived experiences mirrored the lives of many of the characters in the play. Through this support, she began a series of workshops inside Perryville Women’s Prison in Goodyear, Arizona and created a unique page to stage process of development for Their Dogs Came with Them, culminating in a world premiere production at the prison’s Santa Cruz Unit in February 2019. ”