“Alma” highlights the struggles, relationships of Mexican Americans


Photo courtesy of the School of Arts

CSUSM’s theater department hosted the first virtual play of the semester, “Alma,” via YouTube.

Bailey Heffernan, Staff Writer

The CSUSM theater department’s first virtual show, titled “Alma,” premiered on YouTube on Sept. 24. More than 80 audience members streamed the first live performance.

“Alma” tells the story of a Mexican immigrant mother, Alma, and her 17-year-old daughter, Angel. The story takes place towards the end of 2016, just after President Trump had been elected president. Alma is undocumented, and the show discusses the fears that she and Angel have for the coming presidency. 

The show also includes some important information about the citizenship process in the United States. Angel speaks about how she will be able to sponsor her mother for citizenship when she turns 21. Alma also knows that it may take up to 10 years for her citizenship process to be over. Despite these struggles, Alma is optimistic about becoming an American, and studies for her citizenship test often. 

“Alma” is not only a show about political tensions, but also one about the dynamic between a teenage daughter and mother. The show begins with Angel stumbling home drunk from a friend’s house. Alma is furious, especially because Angel is supposed to take the SAT the next day. 

One of the main conflicts of the show is whether or not Angel should even take the SAT. She tries to convince her mother that community college is a better option, but Alma insists that Angel should stick to her dreams of attending a four year college. 

Despite their struggles, Alma and Angel find common ground. They agree that they should never be apart and that one day they will own a home of their own. Although their fighting can be seen as typical between mother and daughter, tensions are especially high, as Alma works three jobs to try to send Angel to UC Davis. 

Actresses Anyelid Meneses (Alma) and Victoria Diaz (Angel) expressed deep emotions and stayed in character despite acting from their own homes. 

There were moments of intense feeling from both women, and director Shaun Heard picked up on this. “So proud of my actors! The emotions are so deep,” he said. 

The ultimate message of the play is family members sticking together even through the hard times. It seems Alma and Angel will have tough times ahead, but they are determined to always be together and achieve their goals in life. 

The show is both funny and saddening at times, but “Alma” highlights the importance of  staying positive through times of uncertainty. As long as this mother and daughter reach for their goals, they will come out happy and successful in the end.

All live recordings of the show are available for playback through the theater department’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtbhV-rm8Vjiy8WqCuQjUWA