'Cycles' Turns Arizona Daily Star's Foster Care Reporting Into A Play

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 2:22pm
Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 3:31pm

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Cycles Arizona foster care play
Borderlands Theater
"Cycles" from StoryWorks, the Arizona Daily Star and Borderlands Theater.

In 2018, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson published a four-part series examining deficiencies in the state’s foster care system. It told the story of the system from the perspective of young adults who had spent much of their lives within it, namely two young women — Alexei Ruiz and Aracely Valencia.

They had both entered the foster system very young and aged out after years of stress and abuse. Their experiences were symptomatic of the bureaucracy that manages the state’s foster care.

Ruiz spoke with The Star about her experience in a system she had been a part of since she was one-and-a-half:

“I maybe had like 20 hugs during that whole time because they are like, 'Well, you know, staff have boundaries so like, we can’t give you hugs, we can’t give you affection, we can’t treat you like a human being because you are just a piece of paperwork.’ And knowing that you are just a piece of paperwork is just the worst thing," Ruiz said.

The series resonated with playwright Milta Ortiz of the Borderlands Theater in Tucson. And now, she has turned Ruiz and Valencia's stories into the play “Cycles.”

In light of the pandemic, it will premiere Aug. 27 via live stream on the Arizona Daily Star’s Facebook and YouTube pages. 

The Show spoke with Ortiz more about the play, the young women’s stories and why it struck a chord with her from the beginning.

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