She portrays multiple characters throughout the 70-minute bilingual performance, and made it very clear during interviews and a question-and-answer segment that the theater piece should not be interpreted as a documentary.
“None of these characters are real,” López insisted in an interview with KQED, “and all is fiction.”
Nevertheless, real photographs of her family, San Francisco City Hall, and an op-ed she penned for the San Francisco Chronicle in 2012 are displayed on screen throughout the performance, which runs through June 7. And one character in particular is sure to spark the interest of San Francisco political observers.
He’s named “Mr. Lie,” portrayed with a mustache, and there’s a scene where a bodyguard in dark sunglasses rescues him from San Francisco City Hall during a bomb threat. This brings to mind a bizarre incident in 2012 in which San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was abruptly removed from an Ethics Commission hearing concerning the misconduct charges brought against Mirkarimi. Police later explained that the disruption was due to a bomb threat that had been phoned in 20 minutes earlier.
In an interview with KQED, Lopez said she hopes her theater production will start a dialogue. “This experience, this situation, divided the community [into] two different sides that are still not talking to each other,” she said.
“For some people it was domestic violence, and they demonized us. And for others, it was a political witch hunt, and they demonized [domestic violence advocates] who were doing, for them, the right thing. But the part that is missing in all of this is the human part. We are all humans, we all make mistakes.”
López also said she felt her family had come under attack. “The system did not work in our case,” she said. Instead, “We are strong enough to survive the system.”
López added that Mirkarimi hadn’t read the script or attended a rehearsal. He was expected to attend the premiere Friday night.
In an interview, KQED asked Mirkarimi if he was concerned that the subject of his wife’s play would cause the domestic violence incident to return as a focal point in his current re-election campaign.
“Well, I think that my opposition will continue to reloop the events and the turbulence of several years ago, anyway,” Mirkarimi responded. “I know that my opposition has done everything they could to mute Eliana’s voice. And this is Eliana’s opportunity to really project a perspective that really hasn’t been put out there, and it’s done through her artistry.”
A representative for District Attorney George Gascón did not respond to a request for comment about Lopez’ decision to use the domestic violence trial as inspiration for a theater production.
KQED also reached out to Casa de Las Madres, a domestic violence group that was vocal during the campaign in 2012 against the sheriff's reinstatement, seeking a reaction to the news that López would star in a play about the politically charged affair.