THE MADRES by Stephanie Alison Waker
“Taut and psychologically nuanced, this political drama is set during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” as three generations of women in a single family face state terrorism and the complicity of The Church when the pregnant, married daughter is “disappeared.” THE MADRES conveys human rights stakes through vivid characters (men as well as women), wit, and expertly-crafted dramatic tension between what is said and unsaid, seen and unseen.”
- Maya Roth, Director of Theater & Performance Studies at Georgetown University
"More than ever, at this particular time in the history of the United States, the Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo can teach us how to fight tyranny, can teach us the power of activism. And, as a Latin woman, the fact that they are Latina is not only important but empowering to someone like me right now as I try to understand what is happening in my country and how to make my voice be heard. The Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo did this long before us. We must follow their lead. "
-Arianna Ortiz, Actor
After the 1976 coup in Argentina, Jorge Luis Borges famously praised the military Junta saying, “Now we are being governed by gentlemen.” By 1983, the Junta had disappeared an estimated 30,000 Argentines. Once you begin to research the period of history from 1976-1983 in Argentina known as “La Guerra Sucia” or “The Dirty War,” you can’t stop. It was a period where you couldn’t speak your mind without the threat of being disappeared. It was a time when people with “subversive” ideas - such as lower bus fares, helping the poor, fair wages - would be kidnapped, tortured and held in clandestine military concentration camps. It was a time when every Wednesday “subversives” were taken up into a plane, drugged and then dropped into the Atlantic.
Protests were made illegal. A culture of silence prevailed. Those who spoke out, disappeared. The rest, just continued with their lives. The mothers of the disappeared, however, could not just be silent. They marched. Every Thursday, they gathered at the Plaza de Mayo in front of the Casa Rosada and marched for their disappeared children. They marched for their return. And when they weren’t returned, they marched for their grandchildren who they never got to meet. Some of these women were disappeared as well. But they didn’t stop. “Las Locas,” as the dictatorship called them, did not stop.
The parallels between what happened in Argentina during that time and what is happening in our country today are too prescient to ignore. The Junta called it the “National Reorganization Process” or “El Proceso” for short. In the words of General Videla, they were out to “profoundly transform the conscience of Argentina” and considered a terrorist “not only someone who plants bombs, but a person whose ideas are contrary to our Western, Christian civilization." They went after union leaders, student council members, priests who ministered to the poor, journalists who dared to write unfavorably about “the process” and anyone who spoke out with a different point of view. They turned neighbor on neighbor in an attempt to “unite” Argentina. It is estimated that 30,000 Argentines were disappeared during the Junta’s reign from 1976 - 1983.
Many of the women who marched had never been politically active previously, but when their children were snatched while walking to class or sleeping in their own bed, they became activists. They marched first for themselves, then for each other and today so that it never happens again. We must listen to their story. They know the danger in mistaking the devil for a gentleman.
-Stephanie Alison Walker, Playwright, THE MADRES
History repeats itself. Women take to the streets. They march. They fight. They stand up for justice and against tyranny. THE MADRES by Stephanie Alison Walker must be done now.
Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc.
Representing writers since 1928.