Tony Garcia, Executive Artistic Director of Su Teatro, stopped by the KUVO Studios to share more about their latest production, The Miracle at Tepeyac running now through December 17.
It’s Time for a Miracle! Su Teatro presenta…The Miracle at Tepeyac!
Su Teatro’s folk drama returns to the stage this holiday season.
Written and directed by Su Teatro Artistic Director Anthony J Garcia, tells the story of the apparition of the Virgen de Guadalupe to the Indio Juan Diego. The play’s parallel storyline explores contemporary issues such as homelessness and the plight of immigrants.
The unique theatrical experience incorporates the historical tale, with the contemporary storyline, along with gorgeous music and the ritual Azteca dance performances by Grupo Tlaloc providing spectacle and pageantry to this holiday event.
The Tradition — Folk dramas were a traditional form of storytelling, that contains ceremony, grandeur, and powerful moral engagement. Although folk dramas can be found all over the world, in the United States, the Southwest contains a formidable history of such productions. Many have survived the Spanish Colonial period and are presented annually in states that were formerly part of Mexico.
Often such productions carried a religious message and were used to augment religious instructions for the rural poor and indigenous peoples. However, folk dramas were appropriated during the period of the Chicano Movement to carry political and historical messages. Such is the case with El Teatro Campesino’s productions of La Pastorela (The Shepherd’s Play) and La Virgen del Tepeyac.
Su Teatro began exploring the story of the apparition of the Virgen of Guadalupe as a means to create a crossover message to communities of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The church led by Father Marshall Gourley had become a mainstay of activism in support of the United Farmworkers movement. Many of the parishioners supported the work of Cesar Chavez in bringing fair wages and dignity to the work of the farm laborers. They also were deeply religious and saw in that struggle the simplicity of faith and hope.
La Virgen de Guadalupe — In 1531, ten years after the Spanish arrived in the city of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) the poor peasant Juan Diego sees a young woman on a hill called Tepeyac outside of the city. She declares herself to be la Teonantzín, the Mother (Nan) of God (Teo) (Tzin -a term of reverence and nobility). She offers him a message of healing and reclamation. He must then go against the hierarchy of the church and colonial government to spread her message that a church be built in her name.
The story lends itself to the survival of the indigenous people who embraced her as one of their own. She was declared the patron saint of Mexico, but for many, she represents the survival of the indigenous people in the face of the European invasion. She is proof that the culture, religion, and people have survived. The Virgen de Guadalupe also offers a complete commitment to the poor, and the call for forgiveness, generosity, and humility. The Nican Mopohua, written in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecas) is the earliest telling of the apparition. The play includes text in English, Spanish and Nahuatl.
The contemporary story is set in a small town in Southern Colorado, a rural community, which has been pushed aside by the ever-expanding tourist industry. In a church called Our Lady of Guadalupe, a poor church in a poor community, that needs repair and a reawakening. The priest faces his crisis of faith, the church handyman Juanito and the faithful church keeper Señora Galbadón must react to the needs of a community that is made of immigrants, the homeless and others ostracized for who they are and how they were born.
Company — The ensemble cast includes Su Teatro veteranos and returning cast members: Juan Diego (David Carrasco), Bishop Don Fray de Zumarraga (Jesse Ogás), La Virgen de Guadalupe (Jordan Hull), Señora Maria Galbadón (Yolanda Ortega), Father Tomas Lopez (Lorenzo Gonzalez) and Angel Mendez- Soto (Juanito). Newcomers include Giselle Gonzalez (Cassandra) and Andrea Rojas (Teresa)
Su Teatro and AARP — Sunday December 17 performance will be a special a special celebration of AARP members and their guests and will pay tribute to our community elders and the vibrant and important work they have done to prepare a future for us. Su Teatro and event sponsor AARP have had a long-term relationship and look forward to paying tribute to generations of contributors and valued teachers. Discounted tickets and other days of activities will occur.
Performance Details/Tickets — All performances are at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, and matinees December 10, 16, and 17 at 2 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.suteatro.org or by calling (303) 296-0219.
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Photo Credit: Photos Courtesy of Su Teatro