“For Then We Are Strong: The Brenda Project”: Original Play Honors Fallen Colleague

The California State University, Dominguez Hills Department of Theatre and Dance presents an original play “For Then We Are Strong: The Brenda Project” on April 22, 23, 29, and 30 at 8 p.m., and May 1 at 2 p.m. in the University Theatre.

The life of alumna Brenda Arrieta Killian (1977-2009) inspired "For Then We Are Strong."

The life of alumna Brenda Arrieta Killian (1977-2009) inspired "For Then We Are Strong."

Developed by the Dominguez Bridge Theatre Company, the play was inspired by the life of theatre arts alumna Brenda Arrieta Killian (Class of ’01, B.A., theatre arts) and written by theatre department alumna Naomi Buckley (Class of ’00, B.A., theatre artsand Susan Thrasher, based on interviews with breast cancer survivors, caretakers, and family members.

“For Then We Are Strong” relates the emotional journey a group of women undergoes during breast cancer treatment, and their individual struggles and ability to draw strength from each other, their caregivers and themselves. While each woman’s case, outlook and outcome are different, they share traits of enormous courage and hope.

The goal of the play is also to raise awareness of the disease.

“I think it’s very important to tell this story, because the more I go on, there seems to be more cases of breast cancer, and the ages of cancer patients seems to get lower. Now, you hear of patients who are 38, 34, and younger. It’s important to get the word out,” said Marina Schultz, a breast cancer survivor of 3½-years who lives in Torrance.

Portrayed as “Luz” in the play, Schultz, was among interviewees and members of the community who were invited to a recent reading of the play to offer feedback to the cast, the playwrights, and director Bill DeLuca, M.F.A., professor of theatre arts.

“Brenda lost a nearly year-long battle with breast cancer on March 6, 2009. She entered Dominguez Hills in 1996 as a vivacious 18-year old, but by the time she graduated she had become a confident young woman who was loved and respected by students and faculty alike,” said DeLuca. “She performed in over 12 productions as an undergraduate, and came back to direct, write and produce. She was one of the guiding lights in the formation of the Dominguez Bridge Company, coauthored ‘The Little College on the Hill,’ and portrayed Engracia Dominguez in ‘The Carson Bridge Project.’”

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. For more ticket information and to purchase tickets online, visit: http://csudh.edu/theatre/tickets.htm. For other payment options, call the box office at (310) 243-3589.

For more information about “For Then We Are Strong: The Brenda Project” or the CSU Dominguez Hills Theatre and Dance program, contact the theatre office at (310) 243-3588 or visit  cah.csudh.edu.

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