THROUGH A PORTAGEE GATE, a play
Culture*Park Theatre was originally commissioned by the UMass Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies to adapt and present “Through a Portagee Gate, a play.” This full-length play dramatizes the immigrant experience framed by a dynamic father/son relationship. The play depicts the story of Jose Felix, who came to America from Portugal in 1915 in pursuit of the American Dream, with nothing but the coat on his back. His son Carlos, the second protagonist and storyteller of the play, is a teacher in California under the name Charlie, denying his roots and yearning for his own “American” identity. There, in his elementary school classroom, a Portuguese-speaking custodian becomes an ironic confidant. This epic story, adapted from the renowned memoir of the same title by Charles Reis Felix, is alive with humor, wit and sincerity drawn from the human experience and heritage that is undeniably part of the Southcoast’s fabric.
This performance is linked to The Z’s 2017/2018 ArtsBridge theme of The Immigrant’s Journey, which celebrates New Bedford’s rich cultural history. The slate of programming includes Birdman Live starring Antonio Sanchez, Viva Portugal, Ana Moura, Through a Portagee Gate and more.
“… as a look into the past, Through a Portagee Gate, a play feels neither sentimental nor syrupy. It’s nostalgia is genuine and its characters authentic. It’s a pleasure to see local history theatricilized with such obvious caring. Congratulations!”