Q&A with Raul Garza

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One of the writers of Pulga Nation shares some insight, here’s a Q&A with Raul Garza:

1. What can audiences expect from The Mexcentrics this season?

Audiences can expect to laugh with us and laugh at us. They’ll discover characters who feel both new and familiar, and will surely see themselves and their friends & family portrayed in hilarious situations. They can also expect a very no-holds-barred approach to comedy!

 

2. What was your inspiration for Pulga Nation?

The writing team was inspired by the theme of duality – the quality of something having two distinct “faces.” We thought nothing exemplified that better for Latinos than the Pulga – where you find yourselves surrounded by the most vivid elements of la cultura.

3. What is your favorite scene from the play and why?

Different every time I see it. I’m tending to love the LOUDEST parts, because it reminds me of the fun, chaotic vibe of the Pulga.

4. Who is your favorite character in Pula Nation and why?

My favorite character is Adapter Man – a militant, retro-techie and Pulga veteran brought to life by writer Omar Gallaga. Adapter Man’s concept of language – a blend of English, Spanish, and tech-speak, and his diehard approach to dealing with those around him make him an unforgettable character. You’ll see!

5. Why should audiences come see Pulga Nation?

Because it delivers big laughs that hit home.

6. What are three things that make Pulga Nation unique?

The setting – where else are you going to see a show about a Pulga?

The characters – multigenerational and dysfunctionally lovable

The performances – the actors create an “alternate universe” – a Pulga Nation

7. What do you love about Teatro Vivo?

The aura – the wonderful positive energy we create together. I love the fellowship and laughter involved in any Teatro Vivo project.

Photo provided by: austin360; Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez

Pero, what’s a pulga?

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A sample of items one can find at a pulga.
Photos by: Deanna Deolloz; Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez

By: Monica Rodriguez

So, what exactly is a pulga? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word flea market is of French descent. It was originally given to a market in Paris that featured second-hand goods that might have contained actual fleas.

But is a pulga really your average flea market? Teatro Vivo member Karinna Perez, who assisted in the preliminary writing process of Pulga Nation, believes that a pulga is something much more.

“The Pulga is an outdoor shopping mall, without any oversight on what is being sold,” says Perez. “You can buy bootleg CDs and DVDs, furniture, boots, plants, anything really.”

According to Perez, the pulga is a place where people can create a second family.

“The booths that sell items are pretty regular so the booth owners get to know each other, creating a community,” said Perez.

The pulga experience can start at a young age. It can be a family affair or even the place to be; it can be a place where you can find intimate treasures for a great price.

“Some classmates and I went to a Pulga in San Juan, Texas for research [on] a play we were doing,” says Perez. “We were so excited to see a sale of 10 bras for 5 dollars, needless to say, we stocked up.”

Pulga Nation will invite audiences into the world of a Mexican flea market. It will be an intimate setting and smaller than a regular sized pulga, but Pulga Nation will be a loud, hilarious experience sin vergüenza!

“This show is written by some of the best writers in Austin. It’s going to be hilarious and filled with talent,” said Perez. “Plus, people will either learn about what a pulga is or reminisce about when they visited [past] pulgas.”

Teatro Vivo presents: The Mexcentrics in Pulga Nation

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By: Monica Rodriguez

This spring, Teatro Vivo presents The Mexcentrics in Pulga Nation, a new sketch comedy show sin vergüenza. To give us an inside look on this vibrant series of sketches director of Pulga Nation, Estevan Zarate, tells us about the long-awaited comedy show about la pulga, the flea market.

Audiences coming to see The Mexcentrics should expect something new, bold y algo muy diferente.

“We are a new troupe that will hopefully bring a fresh take on sketch comedy to both Latino and other audiences in Austin,” said Zarate. “This show is going to be a lot of fun for people who are looking for a departure from the normal date night.”

Pulga Nation highlights eccentric characters with a hilarious cast and it shows audiences what this cultural icon is all about.

“I have had an incredible time getting to know this cast. They are all very talented people with bright futures,” said Zarate. “I am also very happy with the script that I’ve been given, [writers] Omar Gallaga and Raul Garza are so good at creating believable dialogue.”

So if you are wondering how to start your spring break this year, come find out what great things Pulga Nation has to offer and what Teatro Vivo is all about.

“Teatro Vivo is my home,” says Zarate. “I have been working with them for quite a while now and I feel like they are the most supportive company in town.”

Performances are March 7-9, Thursday-Saturday, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Salvage Vanguard Theater. Admission is $10. For tickets and information visit our website!

Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez, Photo of Estevan Zarate: twitter.com/ChuyZee

Teatro Vivo partners with Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

Teatro Vivo, Austin’s premier Latino theater company, is proud to announce their partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, an organization dedicated to opening gateways and eliminating barriers to higher education so students can reach their full potential.

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Tamales: Perfect for the Holidays

We hope you’ve been thinking about the upcoming Christmas menu, here’s a recipe idea from Teatro Vivo. We wish you a Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays!

By: Claudia Resendez

In a Hispanic home, everything revolves around the kitchen; food and family go hand-in-hand – especially during the holidays! One of the dishes most commonly seen in Hispanic homes during this time of year is tamales. Beef tamales, cheese and hot peppers (Spanish: rajas) tamales, chicken tamales, cheese tamales – you name it. Although much time and effort go into making the dish, every single bite is proof that it is certainly worth it.

Chicken tamales with Salsa Verde are one of the recipes most seen. The recipe presented today yields about 12 servings and only takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete – it does not get easier than that!  Read More

Christmas in Austin

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Photo by: West Austin Market Place

By: Hayley Fick

While Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are not the only holidays celebrated throughout the world, they are the top three that most students learn about in school every winter. Luckily, Austin is such a diverse place that you don’t have to learn about the holidays from afar. You can go out and experience them yourself.

Last year Austin celebrated Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture that is rooted in African traditions according to the official Kwanzaa website, in many festive ways. Florists prepared Kwanzaa arrangements that complimented the candles lit in Kwanzaa. The Austin Public Library held an event with storytelling, music, and art that brought Kwanzaa to life, and The Austin American Statesman even published a story that answered 10 Kwanzaa questions.

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Adaptations on A Christmas Carol

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By: Monica Rodriguez

In the spirit of Cuento Navideño, here’s a look at a few other adaptations from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This piece of Christmas tradition has been adapted on stage, screen and even through Scrooge, but first let’s take a trip to the past and learn about Mr. Dickens’ original work. Charles Dickens first wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. Dickens wrote the timed classic to lift spirits during the depression of the 1840s. The story takes audiences on a self-reflecting journey to the past, present and future where main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, turns a bitter, greedy life into a meaningful one. The story is a powerful classic because it reminds others what is really important in life. Read More

Cuento Navideño: A Tradition in Christmas Theater

By: Amanda Leach

It’s time for Teatro Vivo’s Christmas tradition to take center stage! Above is a clip from last year’s production of Cuento Navideño, come join us this season to see what new surprises are in store and become a part of this festive tradition!

“Bah Humbug!” in El Barrio! Teatro Vivo gladly welcomes the return of their bilingual holiday comedy Cuento Navideño (A Christmas Story). The play is written and directed by Rupert Reyes and is based off the iconic holiday tale A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Read More

My Cuento Navideño

By Monica Rodriguez

Latinos love tradition, and Christmas is definitely one to celebrate con córazon y alma. Although some might say Christmas in Mexico is summed up by nativities, traditions and tamales; others might say it is all about the food, family and felicidad. Either way, a Mexican Christmas is definitely one to remember and it starts with the family traditions carried among all generations. My family is originally from Mexico and my childhood was filled with memorable Mexican traditions. I’d like to share a piece of my childhood Cuento Navideño, with you all today as we get ready highly anticipated Christmas season ahead.

While some grow up with chestnuts by the open fire I remember growing up with the smell of buñuelos frying in the pan while my abuela would have one eye on her sweets and the other on my cousins and me over by the presents under the tree. The three main Mexican Christmas traditions I always carry with me from my childhood are the poinsettia, la posada and the piñata. Read More

Spotlight Series: Lesly Reynaga

By Amanda Leach

Mariachi music is no stranger to Lesly Reynaga, member of University of Texas at Austin’s, student mariachi group, Mariachi Paredes. It was through her mariachi instructor Zeke Castro that she first heard about Teatro Vivo and the auditions for Mariachi Girl.

Photo of the Mariachi Girl cast with Lesly Reynaga on the far left.

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