The Latino Theater Company presents "La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin"
The Latino Theater Company presents:
La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin
A gift of love, hope and faith to the City of the Angels
La Virgen De Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin: The Latino Theater Company presents this 14th annual reenactment of the Virgin Mary’s visitations with peasant Juan Diego in 16th-century Mexico; in Spanish with English supertitles. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., L.A. Thu.-Fri., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted; reserved seating, $40. (866) 811-4111 - L.A. Times
A play-with-music in Spanish and the Aztec language Nahuatl, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin has become a two-night holiday tradition at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. A production of the Latino Theater Company, it is staged on the Thursday and Friday before the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Featuring Suzanna Guzmán as La Virgen
La Virgen re-enacts the 1531 story of the brown-skinned, Nahuatl-speaking Virgin who [...] appears to Aztec peasant, Juan Diego. The Virgin fills Juan Diego’s cloak with roses to meet the bishop’s demand for proof and when he presents the roses to the bishop, the story goes, her image appears imprinted in the cloth.
Starring Sal Lopez as Juan Diego
[Los Angeles'] 3,000-seat cathedral, which is only blocks from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, offers a sprawling stage for the pageantry, which involves more than 100 performers, including [children, a choir dressed in traditional huipiles, Aztec] dancers in feathered headdresses and ankle bells, as well as the mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán of the Los Angeles Opera, who plays the Virgin in four apparitions, including one from the 30-foot-high atrium.
Members of the community perform traditional dance in Aztec dress; choreography by Urbanie Lucero
La Virgen was adapted by award-winning playwright Evelina Fernandez and directed by UCLA drama professor and Latino Theatre Company Artistic Director Jose Luis Valenzuela, pictured above.
Valenzuela said the tale of Juan Diego's struggles and perseverance resonates particularly with Mexican, Latin American and other immigrants to metropolitan Los Angeles, home of the nation's largest Roman Catholic diocese. "Life for immigrant people is very hard, and you need to have tenacity to succeed," he said. Although the show costs about $100,000 and loses money each year, Valenzuela said, it supplies an annual holiday rite for many people who can't afford a $70 ticket to "The Nutcracker" or a shopping-mall spree.
Don Garza, who plays one of the Spanish guards, said Juan Diego's story is "about racism, it's about classism, it's about everything."
"This play reminds me that the struggle isn't over yet," he said. "We still have to struggle to right the wrongs."
About the Latino Theater Company
Pictured from Left to Right: Evelina Fernandez, Geoffrey Rivas, Sal Lopez, Lucy Rodriguez, Jose Luis Valenzuela
Independent theater companies may come and go, but L.A.’s Latino Theater Company has stayed alive since its founding in 1985 by Artistic Director José Luis Valenzuela. It’s one of a just a few local theater companies established in the 1980s that has prevailed.
The company, dedicated to the advancement of Latino theater in the United States, as well as the creative employment of all people of color, has mounted productions such as the award-winning A Mexican Trilogy: An American Story by resident playwright and founding member Evelina Fernández and the experimental Melancholia, [about the suffering of Iraq-war veterans].
"Because L.A. and our audience is so culturally diverse, the theater that we do has to represent global concerns and discussions. So we are looking for young writers who have an interesting voice and young theater companies that are interested in being part of our organization," says Valenzuela.
EXCERPT FROM LA TIMES by Gary Goldstein
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