teatrodigna on August 12, 2017

“Digna” by Patricia Davis, under the direction of Barclay Goldsmith and featuring Alba Jaramillo, is a one woman play, in which Digna Ochoa, an internationally recognized Mexican indigenous civil rights attorney, returns from the dead to address an audience about the harrowing attacks she suffered in response to her defense of environmentalists by Mexican security forces. Holding a brutal army to account has a price. Forced to flee, she finally had to choose: Washington or Mexico—the safety of exile or the pull of her calling?

In response to the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Digna confronts the memory of her kidnapping, murder, and suppression of dissent. Based on her life and struggles, the play explores resistance – its modalities and costs – and its essential transformative power.


In October 2001, renowned Mexican human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa was found shot dead in her Mexico City office.Ochoa’s death at the age of thirty-six was declared a suicide by Mexico City prosecutors, despite evidence pointing to foul-play, her receiving death threats, and attempts on her life.

Ochoa, a former nun, went on to represent farmers defending the environment in the state of Guerrero, Zapatista guerrillas in Chiapas, and indigenous peoples in her home state of Veracruz. In her pursuit of truth and justice she challenged powerful governmental agencies. She also uncovered torture and other abuses by the Mexican military and police. Ochoa was twenty-four when she discovered a blacklist of union organizers and political activists in the office of the state attorney general.A few days later, she was kidnapped and raped. Her family and fellow human rights activists rejected the finding of death by suicide, and fought for the case to be re-opened. Ochoa’s case was reopened in 2005. Regrettablystate prosecutors maintained suicide as the origin of her death.


Patricia Davis is a 2016 fellow in the Arena Stage play development program at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Her plays include Alternative Methods (2010 NYC Fringe), Cleared (Kennedy Center’s 2013 Page-to-Stage Festival); and After the Blood (presented at La Mama in 2014). Former director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, she is co-author, with Dianna Ortiz, of The Blindfold’s Eyes. Her articles on foreign policy have been published by the North American Congress on Latin America, the Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and Mexico, and the Center for International Policy and have appeared in The Nation, Foreign Policy in Focus, Counterpunch, and Common Dreams. She also writes theater reviews for HowlRound. She has published a collection of poetry (The Water that Broke You, 2014).Her poetry work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Davis holds an MFA from American University and a BA from Carleton.

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