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September 25, 2006
DH 06 RH77
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
Play “House Named Eden” Shows Carson for What It Is
Former Carson Mayor, Current Mayor Pro-Tem, and a CSUDH Director Auditioned
Carson, CA-The original play “A House Named Eden,” based on a year of research and interviews by theatre
students and faculty of the history and people of Carson, will be the first production of the 2006-2007
theatrical season for California State University, Dominguez Hills. It is part of the Carson Bridge Project,
which was designed to more closely connect the university and the people of the community.
The play is a first-of-a-kind at the University and a one-of-a-kind because of its extensive research base,
with a cast that includes former Carson Mayor Gil Smith, current Carson Mayor Pro-Tem Julie Ruiz Raber, former
Carson High School Dean of Students Karen Dabney, and Vivien McClure, who has done more than 250 shows in
the city. There will also be a number of CSUDH staff in the cast, including Loretta Adikhai, director of Event
Scheduling and Planning.
The play was written by nationally acclaimed playwright José Cruz González, who served as project director of
South Coast Repertory’s Hispanic Playwrights Project for 11 seasons. He also wrote the “Paz” series produced
by Discovery Kids for “Ready Set Learn!” and was a National Endowment for the Arts Director Fellow. The Carson
Fine Arts and Historical Commission, impressed with the work being done for the play by CSUDH students and by
Bill DeLuca, professor and chair of Theatre Arts, commissioned González to write the play.
“A House Named Eden” weaves together and reflects what the research illuminated for the researchers: Carson—even
before it was an incorporated city—has always been a place where the influx of new cultures has been welcomed,
helping it to evolve into a place where people can create their own “Eden.” Carson, the researchers found, is a
place where many have come together to celebrate their diversity and to reinvent themselves.
As DeLuca explains it, the title comes from the city’s image as “a place where people get a second chance. We met
a lot of people during the months of interviews who are working in battered-women’s shelters and AIDS programs.
So, 'A House Named Eden' is an attempt to say that the immigrant cultures that came to Carson were looking for
a better place, but that they also found in the process a world that takes into account helping others. So the
“House” is like a halfway house, like Charlotte’s House. It’s kind of a metaphor for the whole community.”
The spirit of community and learning about what makes one was irresistible to two of DeLuca’s students, William
Jaramillo (Class of ’06, B.A., Theatre Arts) and Elizabeth Hernandez (Class of ’06, B.A., Theatre Arts).
“They both really enjoyed the process,” he says. “I honestly think that this has been kind of a crowning achievement
for them, since they graduated in May. They want to see it through. For them, the process of interviewing was
worth doing, even without a production.”
“A House Named Eden” is set in what is now the South Bay and bridges the gap from when the area was the Rancho
Dominguez to modern times, when what was a 72,000-acre rancho is now several South Bay cities. A girl, Emily, is
lost and looking for a safe place to live. In the course of her search for safety, she meets some magical helpful
frogs, a young pastor who looks after her, and even the famous Manuel Dominguez, who owned the rancho which was granted to
his great-uncle by a Spanish king long ago.
The production will open on October 20 at 8 p.m. in the 450-seat University Theatre. Other performances will be
at 8 p.m. October 21, 27 and 28, and at 2 p.m. on October 29.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Group rate are available by calling the
box office at (310) 243-3589.
For more information, call the box office or the Department of Theatre arts at (310) 243-3588.
The theatre is east of Toro Center Drive, across from parking lots 3 and 6. It is most easily accessed from the
Tamcliff Avenue-Toro Center Drive entrance from East Victoria Street. Cal State Dominguez Hills is at 1000 East
Victoria Street, along the east side of Avalon Boulevard, and south of the 91 freeway and north of the 405 freeway.
Parking permits are available from the yellow dispensing machines at the peripheries of the parking lots.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363