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
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.
Teatro Vivo will be performing the Mexican Christmas story La Pastorela for their Christmas show this year. Pastorela is a Mexican Christmas story from the shepherd’s perspective. Although the plot of the story revolves around religion, the story is filled with messages about life, mankind, and the battle of good versus evil with a comedic tone. Teatro Vivo’s rendition of the play infuses classic Mexican songs to modern hits with colorful costumes.
La Pastorela is a Mexican tradition of recreating the biblical passage where the shepherds follow the Star of Bethlehem to find the Child of Christ. The play includes characters such as The Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, baby Jesus, Shepherds Bato, Tubero, Tubal, Lucifer and Archangel San Gabriel.
The play begins with the shepherds hearing of the amazing abundance in Bethlehem, where they go to find the baby Jesus. However, they experience a series of changes in fortune and confront the Devil, who will do everything possible to prevent them from completing their mission. It is with the help from the Archangel San Gabriel’s intervention to defend the shepherds from Lucifer and continue on their journey. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, they find the baby Jesus and sing him a lullaby to help put the baby to rest. The play ends with the shepherds offering the baby Jesus with gifts and a dance of joy.
The word “Pastorela” derives from the Italian word “Pasttorella” which means “little shepherdess.” Pastorela has been a play since the 11th century, experiencing multiple changes in content and performance. In the 1400’s plays saw an increase in popularity due to Shakespeare’s work, so church plays, especially holiday plays like Pastorela, became popular shows. Although the play experienced a dip in popularity in the 1900’s, the tradition had seen a decline an interest, but is still continuing strong.
The play’s opening night is December 3rd and is free to the public, courtesy of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican Cultural Center (ESB MACC). The production will run until December 20th at the ESB MACC. On December 4th 6pm-7:30pm, Teatro Vivo will be hosting a pre-play reception, named Vino y Chocolate, in the lobby gallery with deserts, appetizers and drinks. Tickets for this special event are $35 for both the reception and a reserved seat for the 8 pm show. Tickets are on sale now for all performances $12 seniors, students and teachers, $15 general admission and $20 reserved seating. Thursday December 10 and 17 are pay what you wish at the door only.
La Pastorela, a bilingual comedy for the whole familia! Opens Thursday December 3 !
Teatro Vivo Announces Austin Latino New Play Festival 2016 Call for Entries
Teatro Vivo is pleased to announce a call for applicants for their annual Austin Latino New Play Festival (ALNPF) presented in collaboration with ScriptWorks to run February 25-27 2016. Participants are invited to submit original bilingual scripts that provide a window into the Latino/a community by the deadline of midnight Sunday November 1, 2015. Four scripts will be chosen for festival production. Selected plays will announced on or before midnight Friday, November 20.
New this year is the addition of one theater for youth piece to be shown the afternoon of Saturday February 27, 2016. Additionally, playwright work will receive a mid-process reading from January 4-5 and an opportunity to revise their work before the public reading during the February festival. Past guidelines remain: plays must be in line with Teatro Vivo mission statement, a work by a Latino/a playwright focused on the lives of Latino/s, utilize both English and Spanish, must be original, and must not have been produced or scheduled for production before or during 2016.
In its sixth year, the ALNPF provides an opportunity for playwrights to hear, see, and receive feedback on their original work. The festival format brings playwrights together to work with a dramaturg, director, and actors to bring a play to life as a staged reading in front of an audience. The rehearsal process for each staged reading is approximately one week.
Selected playwrights will be available and willing to collaborate with a dramaturg and director chosen by Teatro Vivo. Additionally, playwrights will be available to attend the midprocess reading of their play, the festival reading, and participate in a facilitated talk back with the audience immediately after the February reading. The staged readings are workshop-style presentations. After each reading, the playwright and director participate in talkback sessions with the audience. Visit teatrovivo.org for information.
About Teatro Vivo:
Teatro Vivo has produced more than 25 bilingual plays since JoAnn Reyes and Rupert Reyes founded the company in 2000. Teatro Vivo is proud to be a resident company with the Latino Arts Residency Program at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin TX
Contact Dolores Díaz at AustinLNPF@gmail.com for more information.
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.
Austin Latino New Play Festival 2016 Call for Scripts
Submission Deadline Friday Nov 1, 2015
The 2016 Austin Latino New Play Festival (ALNPF)
Feb 25-27, 2016 8 pm 3 nights and 1 afternoon, 4 new plays
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin, TX
The Austin Latino New Play Festival, produced annually by Teatro Vivo, brings together playwrights and audience members for staged readings of new works and rich conversation, each running just one night or afteroon. After each reading, the playwright and dramaturg participate in moderated talkback sessions with the audience.
What is the process for Austin Latino New Play Festival (ALNPF)? The ALNPF provides an opportunity for playwrights to hear, see, and receive feedback on their original work. The festival format brings together the playwright to work with a dramaturg, director, and actors to bring their play to life as a staged reading in front of an audience. The rehearsal process for each staged reading is approximately one week. New for the 2016 season is a reading opportunity mid process (Jan 4-5, 2015) that allows playwrights an opportunity to revise before the formal reading in February.
Teatro Mission Statement: Inspired by the power of theater to educate and entertain, Teatro Vivo produces and promotes Latino theater that provides a window into the Latino community and makes theater accessible to all audiences, especially those underserved in the arts.
ALNPF Script Guidelines:
* The script is in line with the Teatro Vivo mission statement.
* The script is a work by a Latino(a) playwright and/or focused on the lives of Latino(a)s.
* The script is an original work.
* The script utilizes both the English and Spanish language.
* Scripts cannot have been produced or scheduled for full production before or during 2016.
*** NEW*** Additionally, the 2016 festival will select one theater for young audiences to be performed the afternoon of February 27, 2016.
Selected Playwrights will …
*be available and willing to collaborate with the dramaturg and the director selected by Teatro Vivo in the months of January/February 2016.
*be available in person or via Skype to attend the reading of their play mid process Jan 4-5. The playwright is expected to attend the February festival reading Feb 25-27, and participate in a facilitated talk back with the audience immediately after the reading of their script. Playwrights are encouraged to attend all three festival readings.
*Playwrights will submit their script in a pdf file via email by Sunday November 1, 2015, by midnight, with the submission information requested below. Playwright information, including name, should not extend beyond the cover page of the script.
*Teatro Vivo will select scripts to be read in the play festival.
*No payment, fee, stipend, actual or implied will be paid to the playwrights. Selected playwrights incur their own travel expenses. Housing with Teatro Vivo company members may be available.
*Plays will be announced on or before midnight Friday, November 20, 2015.
In addition to script, please submit (in a separate MSWord doc): A brief biographical sketch and playwright background, email address, phone number, and home address. Include a brief response to two questions in 200 words or less: What areas of your script are you still eager to explore and develop? What are your goals for this play festival process?
Submit to both: AustinLNPF@gmail.com CC:firstname.lastname@example.org
More info at www.teatrovivo.org
“What would you risk for the land you love?”
Directed by Rudy Ramirez.
Performed by Yesenia Yadira Herrington, Krysta Gonzales, Olivia Jimenez, Gricelda Silva, Jesus Valles
Eight Performances! Two Weeks!
THESE DATES ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE ON LINE – SATURDAY SEPT 19 8PM, SUNDAY SEPT. 20 2 PM AND 8 PM 30 SEATS WILL BE AVAILABLE 1 HOUR BEFORE SHOWTIME
THURSDAY = SAT SEPT 24 – 26 8 PM
SATURDAY 9/26 AND SUNDAY 9/27 Matinee @ 2PM
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center,
600 River Street Austin TX 78701
Free parking is available to audience members.
If you can not find tickets for a date that appears “sold out” or “sales ended”,please note only 75% of seats are sold on line – We reserve 30 seats for purchase 1 hour before performance time.
No Late Seating – Arrive at least 15 minutes before performance time
This modern bilingual adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard takes place on the beautiful but fading estate,Hacienda El Nogalar,(pecan orchard) now a hostage of the explosive drug wars prevalent in Northern Mexico. El Nogalar is the story of the Galvan family’s struggle to hold on to their homestead their precarious social status before it slips away. The play shadows the family’s housekeeper, Dunia, as she watches the family matriarch Maite and her daughters squander their money and risk losing everything to a localdrug cartel, La Maña. Despite the repeated warnings from the once humble but loyal worker in the estate’s pecan orchard, Guillermo Lopez, Maite ignores her dwindling fortune as stubbornly as she ignores La Maña. This poignant and moving story from playwright Tanya Saracho explores social class, family,identity and the choice between adapting to the changing world or getting left behind.
Mature topics. Recommended for ages 13 yrs and older. Parental discretion advised.
About the playwright:
Tanya Saracho was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México. She is a Chicago playwright who currently writes for Television (HBO’s “Looking,” “Girls,” and “Devious Maids.”). Named “Best New Playwright” by Chicago Magazine, Saracho has had plays produced at: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Saracho was named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is currently in development with HBO and has commissions with the following theatres: Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Denver Theater Center, South Coast Rep. Tanya is also a successful Spanish Voice-Over artist and a SAG/AFTRA actress.
Verano en Vivo August 20 – 30 – 2015
Los Tequileros Aug. 20-23 First Weekend
Two Souls and a Promise and Crossing the Rio Aug 27-30 Second Weekend
All performances are Thurs – Sat 8 pm Sunday 2 pm
Teatro Vivo will present Verano en Vivo, an intimate 2-weekend bilingual showcase of compelling new works staged by Austin Latino theatre mainstays working alongside up-and-coming visionaries.
Hosted by the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, the company will stage Los Tequileros August 20th – 23rd, a featured drama written by Dolores J. Diaz and directed by Alexis Arredondo, followed on the second weekend, August 27th-30th by 2 Souls & a Promise and Crossing the Rio, two one-act comedies written by Teatro Vivo’s artistic director, Rupert Reyes and directed by up and coming Austin theatre and film artist, Rob Rowland . As Austin’s premier Latino theatre company, Teatro Vivo has crafted a unique theatre experience for this summer’s showcase. By combining the spontaneous energy of workshop-inspired performances with creative minimalist staging methods, the experience will highlight the vibrant characterization and provocative voices of these original scripts that delve into lost histories of the Prohibition era, star-crossed family legacies that float in a realm of magical realism, and the ever-evolving complexities of life and love on the border. The company’s mission to empower emerging voices in Austin’s theatre scene will resonate onstage as these compelling new works open our minds and refresh our imaginations in the midst of our mighty Texas summer.
Tickets at http://verano.bpt.me
$10 – students/seniors/teachers/artists
$15 regular general admission
$20 reserved seating
EACH Thursday is “pay what you wish” for everyone at the theater only a half hour before show time.
On May 14th, Basilica premiered to a packed house at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. Written by Andrew Valdez, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Basilica focuses on one family’s version of the American Dream and presents the struggles inherent in crossing the Mexican-American border. Lupe and his wife, Juanita, have four children—Ana Sophia, Diego, and Julieta. Shifting between reality and dream-like sequences, Basilica captivatingly focuses on the consequences of Lupe’s gambling at the palenque, a rooster cockpit which allows different contenders to let their roosters battle one another for cash prizes. After “making a deal” with the devil at the Palenque and gaining funds from his prized rooster, Lupe begins to see that maybe the grass is not always greener on the other side. Basilica or The One With the Roosters teaches viewers about the value of family, consequences and loss, and the intimate struggle of what it takes to achieve one’s dreams—despite the cost. We wish Andrew the best of luck with this production and hope it continues to grow and prosper in the theatre community!
Starring Yesenia Yadira Herrington, Krysta Gonzales, Olivia Jimenez, Gricelda Silva, Jesus Valles
Set Design by Ia Ensterä. Lighting Design by Patrick W Anthony. Costume Design by Jessica Gilzow. Sound Design by Alexis Arrendondo. Props Design by Helen Parish. Stage Managed by Lori Navarrete.
Performances are June 4 – 20 Thurs – Sat. 8pm and June 7 and 14 Sunday 2pm at the
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River Street Austin TX 78701
Free parking is available to audience members.
Tickets $20 – $14. Tickets are available online at http://www.teatrovivo.org or you may purchase at the
theatre starting 30 min before the performance time. All Thursdays are “pay what you wish” only at the theatre box office beginning 30 minutes before show time. The “pay what you wish” tickets are not available on line.
This modern bilingual adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard takes place on the beautiful but fading estate, Hacienda Los Nogales, now a hostage of the explosive drug wars prevalent in Northern Mexico. El Nogalar is the story of the Galvan family’s struggle to hold on to their homestead and their precarious social status before it slips away. The play shadows the family’s housekeeper, Dunia, as she watches the family matriarch Maite and her daughters squander their money and risk losing everything to a local drug cartel, La Maña. Despite the repeated warningsfrom the once humble but loyal worker in the estate’s pecan orchard, Guillermo Lopez, Maite ignores her dwindling fortune as stubbornly as she ignores La Maña. This poignant and moving story from playwright Tanya Saracho explores social class, family, identity and the choice between adapting to the changing world or getting left behind. Mature topics.Recommended for ages 13 yrs and older. Parental discretion advised.
About the playwright:
Tanya Saracho was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México. She is a Chicago playwright who currently writes for Television (HBO’s “Looking,” “Girls,” and “Devious Maids.”). Named “Best New Playwright” by Chicago Magazine, Saracho has had plays produced at: OregonShakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna,Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Saracho was named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is currently in development with HBO and has commissions with the following theatres: Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Denver Theater Center, South Coast Rep. Tanya is also a successful Spanish Voice-Over artist and a SAG/AFTRA actress.
Teatro Vivo Presents Fifth Annual Austin Latino New Play Festival
at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center May 14-16, 2015
Playwrights Andrew Valdez, Adriana Garcia, and Jelisa Jay Robinson
Create Fresh Takes on the Latino Experience.
Teatro Vivo presents the fifth annual Austin Latino New Play Festival (ALNPF) in collaboration with ScriptWorks May 14-16, 8 p.m. at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. The festival includes three evenings of staged readings of new Latino plays with nightly general admission that is “pay what you wish.” A $40 festival pass is available for those attending all three evenings, and reserved seats may be purchased for $15 each evening. Visit teatrovivo.org for information.
ALNPF is a theater event that brings playwrights and audience members together in conversation surrounding three new workshop productions that bring insight into the Latino experience. After each reading, the playwright and director participate in talkback sessions with the audience. The productions have Latino roots and explore cross-cultural themes and modern dilemmas that surprise, challenge, engage, and push the dramatic envelope for audience members accustomed to one-way conversations at the theater.
Thursday, May 14 (8 p.m.): Basilica or The One With The Roosters by Andrew Valdez
Synopsis: Basilica or The One With The Roosters follows a Mexican family who seeks to enrich their lives by moving to the United States. Lupe makes a “deal with the devil,” gambling away his home and worldly possessions and endangering the lives of his loved ones for an opportunity to move to Helms, Illinois. Ultimately it’s up to Juanita, AnaSophia, Diego, and Julieta to atone for the sins of their father.
Playwright: Andrew is a student at the University of Texas at Austin studying biology and pursuing a position in Pediatrics and Theater Arts, with a focus in Theater for Young Audiences. His hope for the future is to nurture children with the medicine of the stage. Andrew is originally from Donna, Texas. His latest written and produced works include: UTPA Theatre Guild Presents: Melody, And The House It Was Sung In, Alpha Psi Omega Presents: Ticket Out of Night Vale, and Alpha Psi Omega Presents: No Llores, Señor Superior and The Case of The Missing Sun Locket (2014 UT Bridge Festival Selection).
Friday, May 15 (8 p.m.): La Carpa Garcia by Adriana Garcia
Synopsis: Ya Llego Ya esta aquí! La Carpa Hermanos Garcia, un gran función de acrobáticos, variedad, magia, revisitas cómicas y mucho mas! In La Carpa Garcia, Elderly Mr. Garcia recounts his days as “Don Fito,” a comic in his family’s traveling tent show, to his home health care provider, Hope. Together, they relive the adventures of his brothers and sisters as they work to amaze audiences by performing music, comedy, acrobatics, dance, and death defying acts. From his memories of laughs, love, and loss we find there is a bit of carpero in all of us.
Playwright: Adriana M. Garcia is an award-winning artist, muralist, and scenic designer born and raised in west San Antonio. She was recently awarded $15,000 and named winner of the Jose Cuervo Traditional Mural Project. Her past work includes community murals created with South West Workers Union, Bill Haus Arts, San Anto Cultural Arts Center, and Casa de la Cultura in Del Rio, Texas. Garcia has also presented at numerous national conferences such as 2013 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) and has exhibited work in San Antonio, Austin and Houston Texas, California and Phoenix, Arizona. Garcia received her B.F.A. From Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied fine arts in Valencia, Spain.
Saturday, May 16 (8 p.m.): The Stories of Us by Jelisa Jay Robinson
Synopsis: The Stories of Us is a collection of stories that dig deep into the intercultural conflict between African Americans and Latinos, African diaspora identity, and Afrolatinidad. This scrapbook of experiences, histories, and feelings takes its audience through African roots in Mexico, the time you told your brother you were dating a “black girl,” and that moment you were proud of your heritage, combining to reveal people of color trying to navigate each other’s worlds and build one together.
Playwright: Jelisa “Jay” Robinson is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin whose playwrighting passions center around Afro-Latino identity and black and Latino relations. She shares her experiences being an African American deeply involved with and impacted by Afro-Latino cultures on her blog Black Girl, Latin World. Jelisa has worked with theatre, arts, and social justice groups in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Austin, TX. Jelisa’s number one passion is creating spaces for people of color to use the arts to empower themselves.
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.