May 10, 2002

Bilingual Theatre Presented by Carlos von Son CSUSM Professor

Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotarian, Mike Wischkaemper, introduced Carlos von Son, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of World Languages and Hispanic Literatures, Humanities College of Arts & Science at California State University at San Marcos to the Rotarian’s at a campus meeting. The professor, from Santa Cruz, a small village in Mexico, spoke about Mexican literature and his first play “Dona Cariba.” The play is an anthology of essays dealing with the minorities in North America. Delta M. Collins and the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary gave a $250.00 grant toward the play’s production.

The “Dionisio Theater Group” of highly motivated, non-professional Hispanics acotrs, presented “Dona Cariba,” in Spanish (English subtitles) at the Vista, Avo Play House, before a packed house including students from the class of Virginia Shannon, a French teacher at Vista High School.

The theme of the play involves the approach of modern technology to a small 1980’s Mexican village. The telephone operator who is about to be replaced by a machine, knows everything about everybody and keeps all the people knit together with the stories she hears and retells. As the comedic story progressed, there were smiles on the young adults and children’s faces that soon progressed to outright screams of laughter and delight.

Von Son is an individual who has excelled in the face of a physical disability. While hunting in Mexico in 1982, a spinal cord bullet wound left him a wheelchair-bound paraplegic. His life since then has been the stuff of which inspirational books and movies are made. His Ph.D. was just one of an impressive string of accomplishments such as playing tennis and riding a three-wheel bike.

During his first year in the US (1986), von Son gardened and sold leather crafts to pay tuition. In college, von Son was in Phi Beta Kappa and was graduated cum laude with a degree in Social Ecology. He was granted his Ph.D. in Latin American Literature at the University of California at Irvine in 1997. While attending Irvine University, he counseled undergraduate students and state prison inmates who attended his creative writing class.

von Son, a published author, integrates his personal life and beliefs into a special style of writing he refers to as “parody and meta-fiction as used in Mexico”. Meta-fiction often deals playfully and self-referentially with fiction writing. He also specializes in poetry and short stories. One of von Son’s students explained his successful talents working with students. He has given motivational speeches to high school students. von Son contributes to the studies of cinematography and philology in general and writes about art for a local newspaper. At present he is investigating “through literary lenses” the works of the Mexican ancestors who inhabited Alta and Baja California during the colony.

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