In this short story turned stage play, inspired by the 1972 shooting of a young Filipino American in Seattle, you get to explore themes about the difficulties of acceptance and fitting in that so many teenagers deal with, especially the mestizos or “mixed race”.
Daniel’s Mood finds the protagonist, Maricela Barker, a Filipina immigrant in the mid-sixties, a victim of domestic violence. She and her young son, Agustin, escape her violent husband, Randy, and move to Seattle, hoping to find help and for a better life within her community. She finds work as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the early seventies.
Agustin blames her for the divorce, and Maricela believes he is growing apart from her. She wishes that he should become involved in the culture and traditions and, much to his dismay, enrolls him in a local Filipino dance troupe. She fears the loss of tradition. There at the Filipino youth agency, they meet Daniel Mallon. Daniel helps coach basketball for boys Agustin’s age. Maricela, against her desires, allows Agustin to join the team. Agustin comes to admire and respect Daniel.
Daniel, in a moment of rage, is killed by the police. Maricela examines his life through interviews with his family and friends. She discovers he led a troubled and distressed family life brought on by abandonment. His life sounds a warning note as she fears Agustin may follow the same path. Will Agustin follow Daniel’s footsteps? Read on to find out.
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