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After directing nearly 60 plays in the Valley over the last 17 years, local theater director, Pedro Garcia, continues his sights on filmmaking. His next story is a screenplay he wrote and revised in a period of 13 months titled, “La Soldadera.” The Pharr Community Theater will present a staged reading of the script on Friday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, April 26, at 3 p.m. at the Carnahan Auditorium at 317 W. Gore Street in Pharr.

The story is in Spanish and is set in two countries—the USA and in Mexico. It's the tale of a Mexican woman named Marisol, a wife and mother of two children in her 30s. Having endured years of domestic abuse from her husband, she manages to escape. On a circuitous journey into the USA, she garnishes the self-esteem, the knowledge and the courage to return to her town and to regain a decent life for herself, her children and for others like her.

At the beginning of the story, Marisol wishes she had the courage of a Soldadera, a woman soldier who accompanied men into battle during the Mexican Revolution. Although years have passed since those timely struggles for equality in Mexico, Marisol sees the images of these courageous soldier women on old movies on her small black and white TV screen and wishes she had their valor.

Garcia who is also directing the staged reading of his script said, "The story came to me after my nephew, who was doing volunteer work in Peru back in late 2012, posted a picture on his Facebook [page] about the struggles of a group of women from India known as the Gulabi Gang. Essentially these women had formed to retaliate against vicious men, husbands who would physically abuse their wives and in some cases rape young girls, sometimes leaving them for dead or crippled or blind. And since the authorities were turning a blind eye to these issues, these women decided to take matters in their own hands as vigilantes and to seek out these vile abusers and beat them with large bamboo sticks.

“After reading more on this particular group of women, I thought I could write a documentary about this kind of abuse and set it in the regions I am more familiar with. After all, domestic abuse is somewhat of a large occurrence worldwide…. After a year of developing, writing and tweaking the story, it became a screenplay…but with an anti-violence twist and more of an awareness and educational angle. The story includes a subplot on the perils of immigration alongside the mutual borders," added Garcia.

Garcia said that nearly 30 community actors will read the parts simulating a performance while the author narrates the scene changes and the action. The duration is approximately 90 minutes, and admission is free. Due to some scenes with harsh language and violence, children under 16 will not be permitted. There will also be an art exhibit with the works of Celerino "Cele" Castillo III.

For more information, call 429-9500 or 655-9308.

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