First Call

Thanks to Culture Jock’s heavy involvement with the annual Red Dress Party on Saturday (which we hear was a sold-out success), we missed his weekly “Last Call” post highlighting events on the verge of closing. To compensate, this is a “First Call” post promoting a show that shouldn’t be missed: Miracle Theatre opens “The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa” on Friday (it runs May 8-30).

The comedy by Luis Valdez is directed by Olga Sanchez and – here’s the best part – will put Miracle’s founder and Executive Director José E. González on stage for what he reports will be the first time in a dozen or so years.

Miracle’s promo says this about the play:

From the earliest days of Chicano theatre comes this raucous and unpredictable satire in which a sellout son returns home with a grand scheme to move his family out of the barrio and into the American dream. But will a seductive nostalgia for Mexico's revolutionary past overwhelm his efforts? That's when the head begins to talk …”

The “head” is the family’s oldest son, Belarmino (Belo), who suffers from an extreme physical handicap: He has no body. Both José and Olga have assured me that although the play is packed with politically incorrect stereotypes, it’s all a big absurdist send-up, and the pale-skinned among us have permission to laugh like crazy.

Miracle has also arranged for an interesting series of post-show talks sponsored by the Oregon Council for the Humanities and titled, "Seeds of Chicano Identity." The talks, scheduled after each Sunday matinee, will host visiting scholars Jorge Huerta, Ph.D., Phil Esparza and Diane Rodriguez in panel discussions based on their personal experiences working with Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino, and their subsequent work in Latino-identified theatre.

If you speak Spanish, here’s a link to a KBOO interview with Olga Sanchez. I lack all facility in the language, but that did not prevent me from being mesmerized listening to the interview.

Also coming up: Third Rail opens "Fabuloso" on Friday. We'll be there (and I'll write more later this week).

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