SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The domestic violence scandal that rocked San Francisco politics, involving Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his wife Eliana Lopez, consumed both headlines and a courtroom in 2012. The saga played out like soap-opera drama, but now Lopez, very much a centerpiece of that drama, is getting her chance to tell her side of the story in the form of a play.
The Venezuelan-born actress will play eight different parts in the play, “Cuál Es el Escándalo?” which translates to, “What’s the scandal?” It’s not much of a departure from her life as a telenovela star except for the fact that this is the role of a lifetime— Lopez playing herself.
“[It] took me like two years to be able to just sit down and be able to write without crying,” said Lopez. “I think it’s a good opportunity to have a real conversation, not in City Hall. Not with a political arm on our neck. Here, with the community and including me in the conversation.”
She says much has been written about New Year’s Eve in 2011, when her husband grabbed her arm in front of their young son, left a bruise, and nearly lost his job three years ago. Then, of course, there was the video evidence of the bruise that surfaced, shot by the Mirkarimi’s neighbor, Ivory Madison.
Mirkarimi pled guilty on false imprisonment charges as part of a plea deal worked out with prosecutors. After he was convicted, Mayor Ed Lee tried to get the sheriff to resign. When he wouldn’t, Lee suspended him.
None of that narrative was written by Lopez, it was the reality of how the saga played out. But now she’s taking on her version of the story in a play that is scheduled to open May 29 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Her younger brother, Alfonso Lopez, is directing.
As for Sheriff Mirkarimi, he’s running for reelection this fall. Lopez insists the timing of the play has nothing to do with that.
“He is in his busy life, I am in mine— working and saying my story the only way I know how to say— through art, acting and theater.
There might be people who see the play and think to themselves, ‘How uncomfortable’. Lopez, however, has confidence in her work.
“Come to see…to see if it’s uncomfortable. I hope people feel happy, because we are together and I have my voice. I’m not this no-brained woman that doesn’t know what is good for her. How they tried to paint me. I think that’s why it’s important for me to tell my story.”