Meetup #42: To the Bone

Salesman+blank.jpgOur 42nd WWSF Meetup event took us to Ubuntu Theater Project for the first time to see Lisa Ramirez’s To the Bone.  Founded in Oakland in 2012, the Ubuntu Theater Project is a collection of artists that are committed to creating compelling works that unearth the human condition and unite diverse audiences through revelatory, heart-pounding theater. Ubuntu is a Zulu proverb that means ‘I am because we are’ and ‘I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.’


To the Bone tells the stories of five undocumented immigrant women as they struggle to survive while working at a poultry factory.  This timely, textured drama from playwright Lisa Ramirez is inspired by interviews with workers at an upstate New York poultry factory and serves as a fierce and fervent cry for women’s rights, immigrants’ rights and ultimately human rights.

Female artists on this project include: Lisa Ramirez (playwright/actor), Juliana AidenWilma BonetCarla Gallardo, and Sarita Ocón (actors), Katherine Nowacki (costumes), and Stephanie Johnson (lights). More about the show and the company here.

If you saw the show with WWSF or on your own, please leave a comment and share your perspective on the work!


5 responses to “Meetup #42: To the Bone

  1. Slayed. A powerful piece of writing and extraordinary performances. All of the actors gave strong dynamic committed performances. The writing is amazing and actors should be looking here for monologues! From Victor’s speech about the queztal, to Lupe’s rap, to Juana’s story about her missing daughter , to Olga’s joke/story at the top about bosses and body parts, there’s writing in several tones and styles. And, the topicality of this play has me thinking about immigration, sanctuary cities and more. I’m going to continue to unpack and probably share more thoughts over the next few days. Curious to hear what others have to say.

  2. I am very glad I went with this group to see To The Bone. It was very powerful, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and poignant with humorous moments. The acting was dynamic. Kudos!

  3. This is a show that EVERYONE should see! Both because of the potent and timely subject matter and because of the artistry of the entire company. I was blown away by Lisa Ramirez – not only has she penned a play that crackles with wit, intensity, finely drawn characters, and earned emotional highs and lows, she also delivered a stunning and poignant performance as Olga. Her fellow actors matched her work with deeply alive performances that made me so grateful to be in the theater. I don’t think any other play, movie, story, or newspaper article about the experience of undocumented immigrants has affected me so deeply or made me so aware of my unexamined privilege as a citizen of a wealthy country.

  4. Yes yes yes!! The sanctuary city policies that are being adopted or not adopted across the country kept coming to mind as I watched To The Bone. The number of times and the number of ways that these characters are blocked or thwarted because of fear of deportation is a relentless theme of this piece, and seeing it brought home the argument I’m hearing about how cities with sanctuary policies are safer places.
    At the same time I’m thrilled that women and their relationships were in the center of this play. Olga, Juana, Reina (Lisa Ramirez, Sarita Ocon, Wilma Bonet) – seeing these female characters through such a range of emotions – loss, celebration, anger, frustration, etc. was revelatory. Then the younger generation, Carmen and Lupe (Carla Gallardo, Juliana Aiden), especially in their scene sharing their rap and poetry writing. Together these characters – in the acting and writing – gave us a 360 degree female human experience. What a gift of a show.

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