Commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2010 and acclaimed nationwide, American Night: The Ballad of Juan José, directed by Elizabeth Huffman, follows a Mexican ex-policeman feverishly preparing to take the US citizenship test.

His dream transforms into a surreal obsession, and he is confronted face to face with historical figures from Lewis and Clark to Bob Dylan, and thrown into events from the Mexican-American war to Woodstock. As recent social and political events bring to light painful truths and uncomfortable conversations rooted in the history of the country, Juan José goes far beyond memorizing flash card answers, asking himself questions that challenge us all to reconsider what it means to be an American.

The play is written by Richard Montoya of the comedy troupe Culture Clash, and based on the controversial book A People’s History of the United States by historian Howard Zinn. It is presented in English and runs through May 23, Thursdays through Sundays at Milagro Theatre, 525 SE Stark St.

Tickets start at $24. Discounts available for students, seniors, veterans, groups 15+, and as part of the Arts for All program. 503.236.7253 or