Una Entrevista Sobre La Pastorela

I got the chance to pick the brains of Teatro Vivo Executive Director JoAnn Carreon Reyes and Luzbel actor Jesus I. Valles-Morales about their upcoming play La Pastorela, where they gave their insights and opinions about the play. La Pastorela opens December 3rd and runs until December 20th. To buy tickets, click here.

JoAnn Carreon Reyes

Why did you choose this play?

This more urban contemporary version of La Pastorela has been performed regularly over the last 20 years by various theatre artists. Long before the ESB Mexican American Cultural Center was built, it was performed in a warehouse on the current site of the center. It became a significant cultural event that unified the Chicano/Mexicano theatre artists, musicians and the community at large during the holiday season. This tradition continued in various forms by various companies over the years. Teatro Vivo last produced La Pastorela in 2005. We felt like it was an important tradition to continue as a holiday gift to the community.

Are there any changes you made to the original play in any way to portray the story in your own way? If so, what?

Certain structural elements remain over the  years to keep the thread of the Shepherds (pastores) traveling to Bethlehem and encountering Devils trying to stop them and Angels interceding on their behalf. It’s the classic good vs evil epic. Each time it was performed in past productions, some current event or social issue was often woven in to the story.One year the shepherds were homeless people and the Devils were political figures, Another year they were residents of neighorhoods slated for gentrification and the Devils were the real estate developers. This year the focus is the Shepherds as refugees from various countries bringing their plight to the forefront.

How are you making the play relatable to viewers who are not familiar of this Hispanic tradition? 

The play has a good mix of Spanish and English, making it easily understandable to all. The classic theme of good and evil crosses all cultures.

What do you want the audience to take from watching La Pastorela?

We believe theatre is a powerful way to educate and entertain. We want our audiences to leave with more than just a program, We want them to leave with a conversation that will continue into their homes and communities about their experience.

How do you feel about the cast and crew’s work with this play?


What is your favorite scene in La Pastorela?

The classic battle scene between Luzbel and San Miguel.


Jesus I. Valles-Morales

Character: Luzbel

How long have you been a part of Teatro Vivo? 

I have been working with Teatro Vivo since May of 2014, when I participated in the Austin New Latino Play Festival.

Tell me about the character you are playing, what qualities do you like about them?

Luzbel is The Devil and there’s something about playing something that people have feared for so long and in so many different cultures that feels powerful. There’s definitely something that is seductive about playing something with that much force. I also love getting to play with and explore the relationship between Luzbel and the messiah as these kind of brothers in conflict. I think Luzbel has some major daddy issues and I can vibe with that. Too much?

 What do you want the audience take from watching La Pastorela?

In these times? Ideally the audience will take with them a sense of generosity when it comes to whom they believe “deserves”refuge in this country. Safety and comfort are human necessities that all humans deserve regardless of nationality and legal status.

 What is your favorite scene in La Pastorela?

I don’t think I have a favorite scene but watching Jesus Garcia and Cesar Diaz reacting to things non-verbally is one of my favorite things about this show. Those two guys are so, so funny without ever having to utter a single word. 

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