Monday, November 21, 2005

a tale of los ninos cinco

in between all the toons this weekend, we made it up to rose marine theater to catch the teatro de la rosa production of rob bozquez' a tale of los ninos cinco (my sweet vagabonds and i).

as a playwright and director, southside native bozquez is cooking up some startling and innovative drama. last month, we caught his maricela and the magic shoes, which was sweet and lyrical but in no way prepared us for this tale, which plays out like a dream in which the ugly reality of war is viewed through the eyes of children.

the plot's _very_ loosely based on the story of six teenage cadets who died defending chapultepec castle in mexico city against u.s. marines in 1847, but it comes to us filtered through the art of a troupe of vagabond players (in a time that could be in the past or the future -- such is the nature of legend) who recruit some village children to act out the story of los ninos heroes.

the vagabonds are outlaws in a world where magic and imagination are banned and ppl are forced to work in factories in the "grey towns" (a comment on the exporting of anglo culture, the state of the arts in bushamerica, or both? _you_ decide!). the horrors of war appear only abstractly, in the claps of thunder that punctuate the scenes, and as the monsters and night terrors of a child's imagination, but the children's "deaths" in the play-within-a-play are still chilling. the staging used the center aisle for entrances and exits, and the actors weren't afraid to milk a movement or gesture for laughs.

the cast was uniformly fine, with a number of standouts. as the leader of the vagabonds, adam justin dietrich inhabited the stage with a kevin kline-like range and presence, while adam dapkus' mostly-pantomime strongman showed how effective purely nonverbal communication can be. among los ninos, keanu ramirez (juan) and austin harnsberry (julio) were the most polished, but i particularly dug cruz serrano as juan's scared baby brother, litos. at the end of the piece, when dietrich's magician loses faith in the magical world (and his culture?), serrano reappears as if to remind him that it's through children that these things are sustained.

i'm becoming a fan of teatro de la rosa. their next production, robert nieto's comedy casa rio, starts january 20th. ya mo be there. maybe you, too?


Anonymous claudia acosta said...

I am really glad you made it to the show! Some people were very perplexed by the play. I must say this was the hardest show I have ever done. I mean the trip we took with Rob was very intense and too close and still gloriously breathtaking. It was so good to know you got it. Teatro de la Rosa is the only latino theater company in FW and it is so hard to get audiences,especially westside/blackdog scenesters. We need the support because if not we can dissolve or worse yet we have to do the all commercial "look at us we like tortillas" BS and not explore the depth of theatrical realms where new perspectives and dreams can develop. In this new mythology, interpreted by a unique "we are not from here or there" culture, we find a place for reflection. Maybe it can help us grow up. Thanks for your support.

1:34 PM  

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