Wednesday, January 06, 2010

El Teatro Campesino announces 2010 Schedule

The 2010 season at El Teatro Campesino is preparing for liftoff, as the company announced its production slate today.
Leading off the season will be a a special production of “Los Olivos Pits'” directed by R.G. Davis, founder of the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
The one-act play “Los Vendidos” will open the show. Directed by Kinan Valdez and written by his father, ETC founder Luis Valdez, the "acto" has never been performed at the company theater before.
In March, the teatro will host “Sisters, Spirit and Song,” celebrating spring equinox with a tribute to Las Mujeres.
April brings ‘La Esquinta U.S.A.,” written and performed by Ruben C. Gonzalez. The production is presented by the company's "Teatro Lab," which workshops new material.
In June, “Corridos: Tales of the Mexican Revolution” will premier with a brand new revue featuring traditional Mexican folk music.
Some time in the summer, the company will also workshop their newest venture, “Popol Vuh,” taken from the ancient book of the Quiche Maya.
Fall brings “El Fin Del Mundo” in October and for the holidays, “La Virgen Del Tepeyac” their annual Christmas pageant.
A full press release on “Los Olivos Pits” is available after the jump.

El Teatro Campesino and Luis Valdez have invited San Francisco Mime Troupe founder, R.G. Davis, to return to San Juan Bautista to direct the Commedia dell’arte play ‘Los Olivos Pits’ adapted from the classic paseo by Spanish playwright Lope de Rueda. The last time Davis worked with ETC in San Juan was 1972.
Davis founded the SFMT in 1965 after opening the R.G. Davis Mime Troupe and Studio in 1959. It was in 1964–65 that Valdez met and worked under the direction of Davis. Valdez has cited Davis as one of the mentors who gave him the inspiration to form his own theater company—the world-renown El Teatro Campesino.
In the early days, Davis taught mime classes, created performances of Mime (pronounced “meem”) and performed Commedia dell’arte—influenced by Etienne Decroux, modern dance, avant garde art and lessons he learned at the SF Actor’s Workshop.
After leaving the SFMT in 1970, Davis was invited to San Juan Bautista to direct a workshop production of ‘Olive Pits.’ Davis chose to revive ‘Olive Pits’ after he directed the piece for the SFMT in 1966, “when the troupe was a radical organization,” Davis continues, “‘because Olive Pits’ is an opportune piece for its timeliness.”
The 2010 production of “Los Olivos Pits,” benefits from both the SFMT’s long run from 1966–69 and a bilingual performance of the UFW in 1967. In addition two Teatro actors who worked with Davis in 1972—Rosa Apodaca and Eduardo Robledo Jr.—will be returning to work with Davis at El Teatro again in 2010.
In a recent text Davis cites reasons why ‘Los Olivos Pits’ is still relevant for today’s audiences:
“With a depression/recession [we witness] shrunken incomes for the middle, lower and working classes. The so called crisis, every 6- or 10 years on the dot—not to mention the Dot com bubble a few years ago—and now the big and little bankers, opportunistic investors, real estate and mortgage bad loans and hustles, offers an opportunity to see through the glass ceiling up into the windows all the way to the back of the bank and through them to corporate trader tricky derivatives. The play doesn’t discuss that matter, but the thought will filter into the new production.”
When asked if the play is funny, Davis replies, “No, however, it’s so critical that you better laugh or else you would have to go out and do something almost illegal.”
To round out the 2010 season opener performance bill, El Teatro Campesino will also perform Luis Valdez’s ‘Los Vendidos,’ to be directed by Kinan Valdez.
‘Los Vendidos’ (Spanish for “The Sold Ones”) is a one-act play by the Chicano playwright and founding artistic director of El Teatro Campesino. Luis Valdez wrote ‘Los Vendidos’ in 1967 and it was first performed at the Brown Beret junta in Elysian Park, East Los Angeles. The play examines Latino stereotypes in California and how local, state, and federal governments manipulate people. This will be the first time that ‘Los Vendidos’ will be performed at the San Juan Bautista Playhouse.
The play is set in Honest Sancho’s Used Mexican Lot and Mexican Curio Shop, a fictional Californian store that sells various “models” of stereotypical Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that buyers can manipulate by simply snapping their fingers and calling out commands. But—buyer beware…
In addition to Apodaca and Robledo Jr., Teatro favorites Christy Sandoval and Adrian Torres will be performing in both ‘Los Olivos Pits’ and ‘Los Vendidos.’ The production will conclude with Davis’ ecological paper “movie”—‘Organic Farming in 12 Minutes.’
Previews for ‘Los Olivos Pits’ and ‘Los Vendidos’ begin on Feb. 12, with the shows’ official opening on Feb. 20. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Special ticket prices for Thursdays—$5, and Fridays—$10. Ticket prices for Saturday nights and Sunday matinees are $12/adults, $10/seniors and students, and $8 for children under 12. Special group rates available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets will go on sale in mid January. For tickets or more information call 831.623.2444 or visit Box-office hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. El Teatro Campesino Playhouse is at 705 Fourth Street in Historic San Juan Bautista.

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