It’s been 25 years since a production of Luis Valdez’ “I Don’t Have To Show You No Stinking Badges” was presented in L.A. But the play accurately taps into several cultural issues many actors, writers, producers and artists continue to face in the entertainment industry today.
Set in Monterey Park in 1985, the play explores cultural stereotypes and prejudices, as Sonny Villa, teenage prodigy Chicano Harvard Pre-Law student returns home to his showbiz parents with an older Asian American woman, Anita, only to announce he’s dropping out.
Inspired from meeting several actors who played roles of “extras” and seeing minorities cast out from playing lead roles during the filming of Which Way Is Up? in 1977, playwright, Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit, La Bamba, Cisco Kid) set out to expose prejudice and the psychological effect it has””causing many to nearly ignore their Mexican heritage.
To this day, “Badges” remains prevalent on various levels, sparking the subject of non-Latinos playing Latino roles in films and the inaccuracy of the Latino representation.
“I Don’t Have To Show You No Stinking Badges” closes Sunday, March 10 at Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 5 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, call (323) 263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org for more information.
See a Q&A moderated by Chicano/Latino Theatre Scholar Jorge A. Huerta, joined by playwright Luis Valdez, Casa0101 Theater Artistic Director Josefina Lopez, and “Badges” cast below: