Little Village Celebrates First Latin@ Theatre Festival
Los Carralejas getting ready for the World Premiere on April 6th at Teatro de La Villita
Although the neighborhoods of Little Village and South Lawndale are home to a large and thriving Latina/o community, the area has never hosted a Latina/o theatre festival – until now. Supported by grants from the Chicago Community Trust, the Little Village theatre will open a newly renovated theatre space in the Boys and Girls Club for its inaugural summer theatre season, drawing actors and designers from across Chicago’s vibrant theatre community in three Spanish-language productions of original and classic plays that promise to entertain, educate, and amaze Chicago audiences of all types. Each company has been mentored by renowned Chicago-area theatre practitioners Juan A. Ramírez and Ilesa Duncan.
Naty and Don Joaquín in "Los Carralejas" preview for Pilsen Portal
The first production, Raúl Dorantes’s play Los carralejas (The Beetles), will receive its world premiere at the Little Village Theatre. Through a series of riveting plot twists, Dorantes’s play tells the story of a family torn apart by the kidnapping of its patriarch, Don Diego. As a commentary on the rise in kidnappings in Mexico, the play reveals the world of brothers Emilio, Enrique, Ciro, and Francisco, scions of a wealthy family from the state of Durango. Unbeknownst to them, three of the brothers share the stage with the Carralejas, the gang that has been placed in charge of the kidnapping. As both brothers and kidnappers expose each other’s secrets, lies, and dreams, we learn about the underlying structural causes of the violence in Mexico through the personal story of families under attack. Los carralejas is the third original production presented by Colectivo El Pozo. The play will be performed in Spanish, with English subtitles.
The second play in the season, Chin-Chin el Teporocho, is a musical adaptation of the important novel by Mexican author Armando Ramírez. Written in 1972, the novel treats the lives of marginalized people in Mexico as embodied by protagonist Chin-Chin, a teporocho (alcoholic) and vagrant who tells the story of his life in a series of flashbacks. Featuring a cast of fifteen and innovative choreography set to original musical compositions by Alfredo Benito, this production by Latino theatre company El Tecolote Theatre Group seeks both to entertain and impart lessons about the risks of drug addiction. Active in Chicago for roughly a decade, El Tecolote has presented over two dozen plays at a variety of venues in and around the city, including Casa Aztlán, Café Catedral, Colibrí, and Taller Mestizarte.
The final play in the Little Village series, a Spanish-language translation of celebrated Italian playwright and actor Dario Fo’s comedy The Virtuous Burglar, also treats social ills, albeit through the frame of a series of comedic trials besetting a wealthy family. In this hilarious romp, a burglar breaks into a private home only to be confronted by a series of social reversals that ultimately make him look like ‘virtuous’ in comparison. Founded in 1998, theatre company Repertorio Latino has produced over a dozen plays in Chicago.
This summer’s theatre season brings together a variety of talents and commitments to providing thought-provoking and innovative theatre for audiences in Little Village. With reasonable ticket prices and important subject matter, these three performances form a summer lineup that you will not want to miss.
Little Village Theatre (Teatro de la Villita):
2950 W. 25th Street, Chicago
Inaugural Theatre Season, 2012
- April 6-15, 2012:
- Production title: Los carralejas
- Playwright: Raúl Dorantes
- Company: Colectivo El Pozo, dir. Carlos Jaime
- May 11-20, 2012:
- Production title: Chin-Chin el Teporocho
- Playwright: Armando Ramírez
- Company: El Tecolote, dir. Roma Díaz
- June 8-17, 2012
- Production title: No hay ladrón que por bien no venga (The Virtuous Burglar)
- Company: Repertorio Latino, dir. José Burgos
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