A staged reading of a play called “Picasso Presents Gernika” written by Chino playwright Begoña Echeverria will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Chino Community Theatre, 13123 Seventh St.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and suggested ticket donation is $5.

Although the show is sold out, tickets that become available will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

If the theatre is full, seating will be available in the nearby green room where the show will be projected in real time.

The staged reading, directed by Chino Community Theatre founder Paul Larson, is based on events that inspired Picasso to paint “Guernica” after Hitler’s Condor Legion military warplanes bombed Gernika, the sacred city of the Basques in northern Spain, during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.

Terrified, a mother sends her children to England, but only sees one of them ever again, explained Dr. Echeverria.

“Picasso paints his anti-war masterpiece, vowing to never display it in Spain until democracy returns, but he dies before this happens,” she said.

Picasso’s black, white, and grey mural-sized canvas is 11 feet by 25 feet and depicts adults, children, and animals in anguish. 

The play is interwoven with fictionalized characters and includes images, music, videos and historical events from 1937 to 2012, and considers the connections between war, art and human suffering.

Dr. Echeverria said a friend she made while living in the Basque Country 25 years ago told her she was the daughter of a boy whose mother had evacuated him to England, along with his brother, after Gernika was bombed.

“The mother eventually called for one of her boys to be returned to her — my friend’s uncle, but not her father,” she said. “He never learned why his mother didn’t want him back.”

This story inspired Dr. Echeverria to write the play, which she completed in 2014.

Dr. Echeverria is a professor at the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside. 

She attended Chino public schools before earning her bachelor’s degree at Stanford University and PhD in sociology at UC San Diego.

Mr. Larson was her teacher at Walnut Avenue Elementary School in Chino.

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