By the Hand of the Father

By the Hand of the Father is an original theaterwork that combines spoken word, music, and video to dramatize the lives of five different Mexican-American men who were born in the first decade of the 1900s, but whose early lives were still grounded in the previous century. They lived through the depression and a society that was changing too fast to even comprehend. They were the first generations of Mexican-Americans whose hyphenated identity actually meant something – they participated to an unprecedented degree but they made sure that Mexican culture was kept alive for us, and their grandchildren. We, in turn, have used this legacy as a foundation to examine our own sense of identity.

With original music by Alejandro Escovedo, accompanied by seven musicians; stories and poetry by Theresa Chavez, Eric Gutierrez, and Rose Portillo; and video by Janice Tanaka; By the Hand of the Father weaves multiple artistic elements together to create a poignant vision of the distinctive cultural, geographic, and personal passage of the Mexican-American father.

This production premiered in June, 2000 in Los Angeles at the Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza.


Rose Portillo
Kevin Sifuentes


Alejandro Escovedo (composer), Rosie Flores, Elliott Baribeault, Matthew Fish, Eric Gorfain, Otoño Lujan, Hector Muñoz, and David Pluckingham

One compelling story after another, begins as an exploration of one person’s past and ends as a moody meditation on the nature of memory and all family histories.
— Chicago Reader, 2001