By: Brenda Tobar
On Thursday, Nov. 14, Teatro Vivo celebrated Rupert Reyes. The reception showcased the 20th anniversary of his recently published play, Petra’s Pecado, and his dedication to Teatro Vivo and the community.
As Reyes signed copies of Petra’s Pecado for family and friends, there was a lot of work being done behind the scenes. Reyes knew that this was going to be his night but little did he know all of his closest friends and family dedicated a special treat for him.
The night began with a slide show of videos personally recorded by individuals who expressed their love and appreciation for Reyes. This was a complete surprise for him. It was clear that the main themes of the tributes were “partnership, familia, and teatro,” which is exactly what JoAnn, Reyes’s wife stated that their life was built on.
In between the hilarious and thoughtful video messages, Reyes’s previous plays were described to the audience; Petra’s Cuentos, Petra’s Sueno, Vecinos, Crossing the Rio, Two Souls and a Promise, Cuento Navideno, Petra’s Pastorela, Route 307, and Petra’s Pecado. The lucky attendees even got a small preview of the Petra’s Pecado at the end.
Even though only a couple of scenes were acted out and there weren’t any costumes, the storyline immediately drew audiences in. Not only was it incredibly funny, but it was also clear that all of the actors were passionate about their role in it. Audiences even got the honor of seeing Reyes perform.
Even with all of the success of the recently published play, Reyes and Teatro Vivo are still finding ways to reach out to the community. Their goal is to have Petra’s Pecado in all of AISD’s schools, so that young storytellers have a chance to see themselves in it.
Reyes has made a huge impact to the community and Latino theater enthusiasts in Austin. Karina Perez Cantu who was an actress in Two Souls and a Promise said, “because of the opportunities and community Rupert and Teatro Vivo gave me, I had a reason to stay in Austin.”
Rob Rowland who has worked with him since he was 14 also shared the same appreciation for Reyes, “everything I know about theater is because of him.”
Not only did Reyes bring together all of these people but he also gave them a home. Todo junto, In the words of Rupert Reyes, was a success. It was filled with a lot of laughter, support and maybe even a few joyous tears from Mr. Reyes, pero shhh, don’t tell him we told you.
If you are interested in helping and getting Petra’s Pecado in schools and libraries in Austin follow this link, Click Here!
Photo by: Brenda Tobar; Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez