Delinquent Archive: SCRIPT


Some texts were written or assembled collectively. Some were written by the individuals who performed them, and some of these texts were edited for the performance in response to ensemble or director comments. 

All texts copyright 2008
To reprint any text written by an individual, contact the author.
To reprint any ensemble texts, contact Keith Hennessy.


Text by the ensemble.
Performed by Constance while she was lifted higher & higher into the air, with the rest of the cast pulling the rope.

Four of us are in high school.
Two of us graduated from college.
Two or three of us went to private school, depending on how you count.
One of us went to Oakland Tech.
One of us is a student representative on the San Francisco School Board.
One of us has been in juvenile detention on both sides of the Bay.
Two of us have been arrested as adults.
One of us has twin girls.
One of us is a twin.
One of us has always lived in foster care.
Three of us live with parents.
Five of us have divorced parents.
One of us has a father who was in prison for 4 years.
Five of us have parents who have been incarcerated.
Some of us have relatives locked up right now.
Two of us were born outside the US.
Half of us grew up in the Bay Area.
One of us worked in the family Mexican restaurant.
One of us lived on a bus for six months.
Two of us are white, no, one of us is white and two of us are half-white.
Four of us have roots in Central America, four of us in Africa, most of us in Europe.
One of us has a dad who grew up in foster care.
Three of us know someone who was killed in the past month.
One of us started stripping at 16.
Two of us are left-handed.
One of us is lacto intolerant.
Some of us are queer.
Depending on the situation, some of us are nervous when we see police.
One of us missed rehearsal to plan a demonstration.
One of us missed rehearsal to attend a funeral.
One of us got lost, three of us got sick, and one of us went back to jail.
One of us dislocated an ankle, another had to get stitches, and one of us came to rehearsal when we should have been in the hospital.
Some of us do not identify as young.
All of us have stolen something.
Most of us didn’t get caught.
Three of us have been beaten up.
Five of us have punched someone in the face.
Two of us kicked someone in the face.
One of us kicked someone in the face with cleats, but it was an accident.


Text by ensemble. Performed by Constance Castillo, a continuation of the previous text. Slowly everybody except Omar Turcios left the rope. When Constance finished speaking, Omar handed her the support rope and she lowered herself to the ground.

Why do we hold back the truth?
Why do we try to help but they don’t want it?
Why do governments ignore the prophecy of ancestors?
Why are there fewer youth in this city than dogs?
Why do people with accents win less money on game shows?
Why is it so hard to catch up?
What can I do to set my place in the future?

How does skin know how to heal itself?
What makes people faint at the sight of blood?
Are you breathing?

Do you know the names of your neighbors?
What is beyond the universe?
Why do people have a problem with simply loving who you fall in love with?
Why do I wanna be a lawyer?
Where does love come from?

Why does Nestor always want to climb the rope so much?
What the hell is this show going to look like?
Where am I going?

How many times have you cried?
Are you thirsty?
Do you have a tattoo?

Do I belong here?
Will I disappoint you?
How long would it be until you dropped me?
How many people are watching us??
Have you identified me?


Written and performed by Omar Turcios. 
Created in dialogue with Keith. Omar begins to tell this story several times but is interrupted or silenced by others. When he finally gets to tell it, he follows a mic held by April Rodriguez. She then drags it on the ground as Omar crawls after it, humiliated but determined. He finally grabs the mic, stands and delivers the final lines.

Uno. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua, in 1985 during a civil war.

Dos. It might have been my uncle who was a high ranking general for the military.

Tres. My mom left my dad and Nicaragua to come to the U.S. for a better life.

Cuatro. I arrived in San Francisco in ’89. I was four years old. I learned to speak English.

Five. In 1991 my sister Karla was born. 

Six. I used to play baseball for ten years. 

Seven. I was labeled a gang member before I actually became one.

Eight. I was totally against gangs and then I joined.

Nine. My family was always complaining about bills and money.

Ten. I started working at the age of 15. 

Eleven. I worked at a Taqueriá for a year and pretty much managed it.

Twelve. I didn’t know that wearing my 49er’s jersey would almost get me killed.

Thirteen. When I first met my blood cousin, who I hadn’t seen since we were little in Nicaragua, we thought we were from opposite gangs. 

Fourteen. I was charged with Assault & Battery even though the alleged victim hit me first. He was an adult and I was a minor.

Fifteen. I missed my last year of school, graduation, and prom due to incarceration.

Sixteen. My 14 months in the system got me deeper into the gang life.

Seventeen. When I got out two weeks later I got beat up by the police and robbed of my money and jewelry. Nobody believed me but my P.O. Mr. Robinson.

Eighteen. I didn’t care about anything and then I got shot.

Nineteen. First time I held a gun I was eight years old. My step-dad let me hold it

Twenty. My favorite rapper is Tupac because he was a revolutionary.

Twenty One. If I was allowed to vote I would of voted for Obama.

Twenty Two. One of my favorite movies is Bad Boys because I like the action and comedy together.

Twenty Three. If I had 20$ for a dinner right now I would go to Oyé Managua. 

Twenty Four. I started working at The Beat Within since I had first got out of juvie, and I have been there ever since.

Twenty Five. I have twin daughters, named Mariellena and Esella.

Twenty Six. My name is Omar Turcios


West Side Story
Gee, Officer Krupke!
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim, 1956/7

See them cops they believe everything they read in the papers about us cruddy JD’s. So that’s what we give them, something to believe in.

SNOWBOY/OMAR (imitating Krupke):
Hey give me one good reason to not drag you down to the station.

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke, You gotta understand,
It's just our bringing up-ke That get us out of hand.
Our mothers all are junkies, Our fathers all are drunks,
Golly Moses, natcherly we're punks!

Gee. Officer Krupke, we're very upset;
We never had the love that every child oughta get
We ain't no delinquents, We're misunderstood,
Deep down inside us there is good!

There is good!

There is good, there is good, There is untapped good,
Like inside, the worst of us is good.

SNOWBOY/OMAR (imitating Krupke):
That's a touchin' good story!

ACTION/JORGE: Lemme tell it to the world!

SNOWBOY/OMAR ("Krupke"): Just tell it to the judge!

ACTION/JORGE: (to "Judge"):
Dear kindly Judge, your Honor,
My parents treat me rough,
With all the marijuana, They won't give me a puff.
They didn't wanna have me, But somehow I was had.
Leapin' lizards, that's why I'm so bad!

Officer Krupke, you're really a square;
This boy don't need a judge, he needs an analyst's care!
It's just his neurosis that oughta be curbed.
He's psychologic'ly disturbed!

ACTION/JORGE: I'm disturbed!

We're disturbed. we're disturbed,
We're the most disturbed,
Like we're psychologic'ly disturbed.

In the opinion of this court, this child is depraved on account
he ain't had a normal home.

ACTION/JORGE: Hey, I'm depraved on account I'm deprived!

DIESEL/TRACY ("Judge"): So take him to a headshrinker.

ACTION/JORGE: (to "Psychiatrist"):
My daddy beat my mommy, My mommy clobbers me.
My grandpa is a commie, My grandma pushes tea,
My sister wears a mustache, My brother wears a dress,
Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!

A-RAB/MEGHAN ("psychiatrist"):
Officer Krupke, you're really a slob.
This boy don't need a doctor, just a good honest job.
Society's played him a terrible trick, "Und" sociogic'ly he's sick!

ACTION/JORGE: I am sick!

We are sick, we are sick,
We are sick sick sick,
Like we're sociologically sick!

A-RAB ("psychiatrist"):
In my opinion this child don't need to have his head shrunk at all.
Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease!

ACTION/JORGE: Hey, I got a social disease!

A-RAB/MEGHAN ("psychiatrist"): So take him to a social worker!

ACTION/JORGE:  (to "Social Worker"):
Dear kindly social worker. They say go earn a buck,
Like be a soda jerker, Which means like be a schmuck.
It's not I'm anti-social, I'm only anti-work,
Glory Osky, that's why I'm a jerk!

BABY JONN/JEREMIE (imitating female social worker):
Officer Krupke, you've done it again.
This boy don't need a job, he needs a year in the pen.
It ain't just a question of misunderstood;
Deep down inside him, he's no good!

ACTION/JORGE: I'm no good!

We're no good, we're no good,
We're no earthly good,
Like the best of us is no damn good!

DIESEL/TRACY ("Judge"): The trouble is he's crazy!

A-RAB/MEGHAN ("Psychiatrist"): The trouble is he drinks!

BABY JONN/JEREMIE ("Social Worker"): The trouble is he's lazy!

DIESEL/TRACY ("Judge"): The trouble is he stinks!

A-RAB/MEGHAN ("Psychiatrist"): The trouble is he's growing!

BABY JONN/JEREMIE ("Social Worker"): The trouble is he's grown!

Krupke. we got troubles of our own!
Gee, Officer Krupke,
We're down on our knees,
'Cause no one wants a fella with a social disease.
Gee, Officer Krupke,
What are we to do!
Gee, Officer Krupke,
Krup you!


Written & performed by Constance Castillo.
Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr, wearing the skeleton hoodie, in a dynamic improv variation of Mexican folklorico dancing, travels the entire perimeter of the square playing area, circling Constance at center stage, radio mic overhead.

24th street is on fire right now
and I know only the gentrified blocks will be hosed
coffee shops and thrift stores replace families here as rapidly as the flames

but on streets where survivors find refuge
mexicatessans and murals have clung onto the sidewalks
with fingertips digging into the edges of a cliff built by a system waiting for them to fall

candles and flower petals of remembrance are common company for street signs
fire hydrants don’t mark street corners as often as deaths do
blood stains the places where water should have put out the cross fires
that young boys get caught in
lives collapse slowly but
the cops always arrive here before the fire department
the flames spread systematically
gun fire burns down communities
by the time it becomes an epidemic
it’s too late

the tension is burning here

between smoke clouded classrooms and smoke covered prisons
either you can’t see or you can’t be seen
test scores blur ability to see dreams
statistics mark metal bars
 blind to screams
and whichever way the children roam
either building looks like home
birthed into a system that builds education without supporting beams
inner city lives are trained to crumble
taught in classrooms made to collapse
this is why,
these streets are too hot to walk on right now
callused souls are still trying to relearn walking when peers are sent crawling for breath
these streets are too hot
and dehydrated voices
collapse with the heat
the world falls apart on these streets
children walk to school in the rubble
where are the heroes?

gun shots every other corner
only silence follows

6 people died on the streets of the Mission in one week

how can Anna Nicole Smith get more news coverage than this?
how can dying polar bears get more attention than a dying community?
this is an endangered neighborhood on the brink of extinction
and somehow society feels more empathy to a spotted owl than a 5 year old saying goodbye to her older brother
why are we not blocking intersections?
why are we not chained to street signs demanding more?
how can trees receive more compassion than memorial service for a sixteen year old boy?
why are we not starving ourselves until these streets are fed?

we stick up for the things without a voice
and ignore the youth screaming

everyone wants to save the rain forest

no one wants to save the children
sons and daughters
replaced with empty school desks
those that rest in peace
are not the only ones keeping silence
someone besides the youth is failing
children play with matches
but houses only burn down when nobody is paying attention
these are the children left behind
a community burning down while society turns it’s back
potential burns to death in the heat of this fire
dreams suffocate breathing in the smoke
there is imagination in these ashes

this is a tragedy
why aren’t the people crying?

6 people died within a 4 block radius
in one week
where are the heroes?
24th Street is on fire right now
hit after hit
there is something in the air besides smoke
nobody is checking the governments mistakes
this is tragedy

there are tears in a mother’s eyes
when they say
a young boy fell


Excerpts from a longer poem written by Nestor Reyes. 
Performed by Nestor and Trae Greer. This was developed in rehearsal with input from several people, especially Meghan Milam.

How old are you?                    16
Are you a man?                    Yes
What is a man?                    Pass
Are you a bitch?                    No
Are you a faggot?                    No

Have you ever called a woman a bitch?        Yes
A man?                        Yes
Have you ever been called a bitch?            Yes

What is a man?                    Pass
Are you a man?                    Yes

Where do want to be in 2 years?            College
in 5 years?                        College
Where do you want to be in 30 years?        Working

Doing what?                    In five, 10, or thirty years I don’t plan to be
a prisoner who receives his education off the side of a milk carton. I want to be able to help you, 
them, us. I want to be able to major in political science and not be politically trapped, personally I’d rather be stuck in a 4 hour conference call than an inmate hall. I want to be able to fall crawl and stand tall when people offend, I don’t want to turn around, be put on the ground, confound for a another guy that’s running around, pound then taken to the downtown compound

How old are you?                    16
Are you scared?                    Are you?
Are you scared?                    Yes

What is a man?                    Pass        
What is a man?                    Pass        
What is a man?                    Not a bitch

Have you ever called a woman a bitch?        Yo wha’s yo bra this girl last night was moved     so silky you should have seen here when she got in the mood, I didn’t even know her name and she still got nude, she moved to the right then moved to the left I coulda sworn this shit felt like grand theft and while I swayed through her hair I was so unaware that there was a sign that said beware, I was walking on air she was like a bear on the run, we wore both happy like when obama won, but to me she was another bitch that needed me to have fun.

How old are you?                    16
Are you a man?                    Yes
Are you proud?                    (pause) Pass
What is a man?                    Not a faggot
What is a man?                    Not a bitch

Have you ever been called a...            The last time I heard the word Bitch
Was in your average high school history class it was not chemistry for we be talking about petroleum gas and how there’s more cars than grass, and my friends be tellin me how that girl has a stunning atomic mass.

No it was history where patriarchy and masculinity are the bold letters that helped capitalism and supremacy rule America but out of the corner of my eye after reading how America lied and despised our native ties are a couple of girls sitting next to this guy who thinks because he’s sixteen all girls will bend down to his knees

So he stands there wearing his name brand top thinking that he’s fly cause’ his belly don’t flop and he thinks can make you pop, lock and drop smoother than an American cop.

Then with his virginity hanging like an umbilical cord he walks up to you
And says ‘you can fall off a building, you can fall off a tree but the best way to fall, is in love is with me”

He says your blood is precious like a fine wine, that you make him addicted like when he was thirteen he used to have his hand on his dick thinking about chick after chick just waiting for the day when he’ll find the right lady to lick his lips.

Yeah, she fell into his game became a part of a list of names hung over his bed in a gold plated frame and giving him the courage to tell his friends that he played a game with just another bitch.


Text by the ensemble. 
Together we read many many issues of The Beat Within, a weekly zine of juvenile inmate writings from throughout California. The writings are generated in creative writing workshops or privately before being edited, published, and distributed back into the institutions where the writing originated. Omar is an assistant editor with The Beat. Through a long process of picking our favorites and trimming them down to most essential images we ‘wrote’ the following collage. Performed by most of the cast, standing in a circle around the radio mic. Dawon, still invisible in the box/cell.

They treat you like an animal, like you’re a real criminal, when, really, you’re just a kid who made a bad mistake. (But they don’t look at it like that.)

Life outside of here is going on no matter what. People are doing the same things while I’m up in here.

Man, it seems like I lose everybody I love. I lost my uncle Paco and my favorite cousin Burger. Damn, they gone. I miss them so much.

Now I know I have nowhere to run but a dead end. It hurts me to know that I’m going to waste many years of my life, and I keep hurting my loved ones.

La última vez que recibi un abrazo fue cuando me venía para aqui. Fue un abrazo muy triste que recibi de mi mama y fue ahi cuando llore.

To live with the eyes closed is very easy because you think everything is easy, but when you open them, you realize things are much harder.

Just yesterday I received a picture of him in his coffin, and I just felt this emptiness in my stomach.

I have a window. The window is white plastic with five bars. I can’t even see the outside. The only things that belong to me are my glasses, letters, and pictures.

They forgot how to cry. My soul had died in this jail. Breathing slowly, staring at the wall. Not knowing why.

Another thing I just can’t let go of is my hate and my anger. I’m feeling I hate these people. They setting me up for failure. They out to get me.

Maintain a solid composure. Stand tall! Much love and respect... I’m gone... poof... ghost.

Love, yeah. I would truly love to have this so-called love. I hear it’s a good thing to have in your life.

I never really had real love or real happiness. I had the respect. I had the money.

Why do I keep doing the same negative things over and over and expect a different reaction.

Street life has an addictive quality all its own. Drugs are everywhere and other kids become like brothers and sisters.

I have made many mistakes, but the one I am most disappointed is my latest one, which ended me up in Juvenile Hall where I sit here now writing this: prostitution. This is not my first time. A lot of people look at me funny. They act like I don’t know it’s wrong, like I want to do it.

Faster than I can remember, he grabbed me. Salty tears ran down my face. Make-up smeared, heart pounding, I tried to push, but he pushed back. Then it went black. (Waking up hot and sweaty I crawled out of the car. Zipping up my pants, I sat and cried. He took my power away. Little does he know...)
(A lot of discussion about this entry. How to avoid image of woman as victim but still present rape? Meghan & I tried cutting it various ways. I’m printing the whole piece for historical memory.)

I need help. I’m afraid to ask.

My mama lost me to these streets. I told her don’t cry. I told her if she understood real she should understand why.

I am here alone, thinking ‘bout you. I wonder where you are and is it really true that the more emotion I put in the more I am losing you?

I’m always in the dark. I sit back and watch the world. No one around me. Unable to think, unable to talk. Things happen and I just bottle it in, unable to feel until I explode with no warning or caution.

When my visit was over I went to give my pops a huge kiss. I did, but he didn’t want to let go. He just started to break down. Then my mom came to hold both of us. I just started crying.

Nobody ever read to me when I was little. I really don’t want to write my own story because I hate reading.

I was misled. The first time I was locked up I was 12 and to be honest, I was scared. I did not know what to expect. As time progressed, I became used to this place; and in return, I became part of this place.

PEOPLE DIE (incomplete)

The hoodie was removed and laid carefully on the ground. 

Tracy: I went to Oakland Tech and frequently there would be a moment of silence…

Nestor – Joshua Cameron, 18, shot & killed at Fillmore & McAllister
Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr – my cousin’s friend shot in the garage…
Meghan – Jonisha Tucker, 16 years old, student @ George Washington High, shot & killed accidentally by a 14 year old boy in Bayview
all name a youth or two who died violently

Then all yell a moment of noise, timed precisely and ended by April.


Written and performed Meghan Milam and Omar Turcios, while others danced on the flying, spinning cage, or held the rope to support it. Dawon, still invisible in the box/cell. These are stories told informally in rehearsal that I wanted the audience to hear and compare. Maybe Meghan’s originated in an email to me. 

Hey Meghan, what did you do after rehearsal last Thursday?

So, I’m in my home in the Mission filled with young 20 to 30 somethings, drinking beer, having dinner, generally having a good time.  I remember that Jorge is performing at Million Fishes (KH – an artist live/work collective on Bryant & 23d), so I walk around the corner and check out the gallery opening.  I saw some hipsters, was not so moved, cracked some smiles, enjoyed a bit of art, and headed back home after about 15 minutes.  What I noticed most was the group of men who are always on 23rd on the north side of the block between York and Bryant, hanging out and drinking.  Just a few steps from Million Fishes, not any of them, as far as I can tell, are in the gallery, hanging out, drinking wine and beer with the artsy folks.  So what is a community art space serving if it's only a portion of the community?  Not a new question, I know, but I’m not going to stop asking it.  It makes me sad, it makes me hate art galleries in the Mission, it makes me feel like I have no right to be indignant about it-- I am part of it-- and it makes me wonder. Cities always have different cultures rubbing up against one another in close proximity, and I’m not trying to qualify this scenario as bad or good, but I notice.

So Omar what did you do last Thursday after you got out of rehearsal?

Well I was walking with Keith down on Mission just chopping it up, when I remembered I had to meet up with my girl, and my boy and his girl, 'cause we were going to go to the movies. So I parted ways with Keith and I started walking down 26th and Mission. As I walking down the Mission I seen a patrol car with two cops really mugging me. So I went to the corner store, walked inside said was up to cousin and everyone else I knew in there. I made my way to the back of the store to get something to drink when I noticed the 2 cops walk inside the store. He came up to me and said, "Are you a gang member? Where are you from? What's your name? What do they call you?" So I told him my real name and that I was on probation and the other cop who I had seen walk down the aisle behind me started searching me. Then they asked me to come outside, and when I walked outside there were at least 5 other cops and at least 2 more cop cars. They told me to sit down, and they asked me what I was doing around here. I told them I had just got out of rehearsal. And one of the cops asked, “Rehearsal, for what?” I told them for a performance at The Yerba Buena. And they asked me what it was about, I told them, "It's a performance about the criminal justice system." I don’t see any of them here.


Written & performed by Dawon Davis. 
A few of the ensemble climb up the box wall to drop a mic to Dawon. He recites the text with everyone still, watching the box, listening to the man they can’t see.

Born into a world where it seems that no one sees you
looking for a mother
looking for something, someone
searching, seeing nothing but darkness
spiraling black strobes that blind me
or at least I think so,
then I realize it’s just the darkness deceiving me... again... 
it seems as though I’m trapped Here
I don’t know how long, 
I don’t know what for,
but in Here, stuck, nickel and diming for survival...
Free but not Free,
stories told and untold,
and this was designed by someone who was metaphorically speaking on the unseen...
but why speak on something you can’t see let alone control...
what did I ever do to release a fate like this upon me...
well I guess it was being born cause that’s how long I’ve been here
since birth
17 years of living in the unknown
(this system, for before I was even born)
But time is forever and I guess that’s how long I’m going to be here
so I better get used to it..