The National Endowment for the Arts gave a $20,000 grant to a musical about a lesbian and illegal immigrant who falls in love with an ICE agent, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The musical — titled “Walls!” — is scheduled to be performed by the San Francisco Mime Troupe in venues across Northern California next month. The self-described “socialist” mime troupe does not charge admission to its shows.
According to the Free Beacon, the funding for “Walls!” was given in the first round of grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts under the Trump administration. Jane Chu, the current NEA chair, was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014.
The San Francisco Mime Troupe wrote on its website that “Walls!” is about Zaniyah, a lesbian who immigrated to the United States illegally. They describe her as a “bad hombre,” a term used by President Donald Trump during his run for the White House:
As a foreigner in a land her people have worked for thousands of years suddenly Zaniyah is a criminal, an illegal, a "bad hombre." What part of herself will this American give up to pass as "American?" Will she? Can she? Should she? Can someone leave part of themselves behind without losing their mind? And is it better or worse that she crossed the border to find Agent L. Mary Jones — the woman she loves?
The description also states that agent L. Mary Jones “knows all about fear.”
“As a top agent for ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — she knows how to stoke fear to keep her country safe,” it states.
A trailer for the production shows the cast of “Walls!” describing the production as a commentary on “the issue of immigration.”
The San Francisco Mime Troupe says on its website that its free shows “uphold socialist ideals.”
“The red star and red flags have a long history of representing people's struggle, socialism and communism. This should not be read as support for totalitarian regimes,” it wrote. “Just the opposite.”
The grant for “Walls!” is not the first grant that the troupe has received from the NEA, according to the Free Beacon. It has received $461,000 from the NEA since 1998.