‘Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)’ brings stories of Latinx undocumented immigrants to Queens

Photo by Maria Baranova

A play meant to humanize the “struggles, hopes and dreams” of undocumented Latinx immigrants, “Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes),” is coming to Queens in February.

The lively show will follow a group of immigrants in a community center somewhere in New York City who, on the eve of citywide ICE raids, gather for a fandango dance. Although they are fearful — “fearful for family left behind in their home countries, for loved ones in the middle of their dangerous journey to New York, of leaving the sanctuary of the community center simply to get a bag of ice” — a sense of camaraderie begins to build among them.

The play is produced by En Garde Arts and will kickoff their five borough tour on Thursday, Feb. 6, at La MaMa in Manhattan. They’ll then make their way to LaGuardia Performing Arts Center on 31-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City for two nights (Wednesday, Feb. 19, and Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m.).

En Garde Arts’ founder and artistic director Anne Hamburger said that they turned their focus toward using their full producing and artistic resources to humanize the lives of undocumented immigrants. It was written by Andrea Thome, directed by José Zayas, with original music by Sinuhé Padilla and choreography by Alexandra Beller.

Photo by Maria Baranova

The story was inspired by interviews with undocumented immigrants from Latin America living in New York.

“The dehumanization of the undocumented in the United States lays at the feet of the rhetoric of our politicians, the sound bites expressing hatred on social media, but also emanates from a lack of experience with people coming from different cultures,” Hamburger said. “Using theater to paint people in flesh and blood terms can help build bridges to understanding. This is what the theater is uniquely positioned to achieve and why I’ve chosen to produce ‘Fandango.’”

The performances will be in English and Spanish with supertitles so that it’s fully accessible to Spanish- and English-speaking audiences. Each show is approximately 90 minutes. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will be at select performances to provide both immigrants and allies with resources and actionable steps.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, $8 for LAGCC students and $10 for all other students. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.engardearts.org.