After a 20 year hiatus, Latinx theatre returned to the stage in Aggieland to tell the story of two siblings from Guatemala whose journey to the United States resulted in their deaths.
Robert Villarreal, Class of 1991, was one of the founders of Latinx theatre at Texas A&M, wrote the production titled “In Search of a Poet,” which was presented by MSC CAMAC this Thursday. Along with promoting discussion on topics relevant to the Latinx community, the production featured A&M students, some of which made their first acting debut. According to Villareal, the production presented a narrative that is important because misrepresentation about the stories of subjects presented does exist.
Villarreal said that initially, the idea of bringing back the theatre group occurred two years ago at a SCOLA conference, and students in MSC CAMAC had to overcome challenges to make its comeback a success.
“I think when you want to create a voice for the most marginalized or disenfranchised people, theatre is the perfect venue for it,” Villarreal said. “It’s not the same thing as a protest or its not as controversial. It invites people in and shares their story.”
One of the main characters in the production - Santa Muerte, played by Olivia Lozano - aided the migrant sisters in sharing their story. According to Villarreal, Santa Muerte is a tangent of varying religions and religious thought that stemmed from the Spanish invasion of Latin America.
“Over time, that hybrid of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism hasn’t ended, and so Santa Muerte has become sort of a folk-deity, especially in the northern part of Mexico,” Villarreal said.
Lozana said she was able to be engaged not just in a play, but in a movement with people who view politics and life through a similar paradigm.
“I think this is so much more powerful, even if it affects just one person and changes the way they view things, that’s one person who can change other people’s views,” Lozano said.
Eduardo Espina, professor of Spanish and one of the founders of the Latinx theatre group, said that it is vital that A&M have this group so that individuals have a microphone to express their ideas, emotions and feelings.
“It is not easy to do artistic enterprises at A&M, but also it’s a challenge, and so I love it,” Espina said. “It’s very easy to do plays in SoHo New York. Everybody is there. But that is why we like it, the fact that we get to restart something that in some ways more difficult now that 20 years ago.”
Sociology junior Daisy Castillo played Actress in the production and said this was her first on-stage performance. She said the play allowed her to address social issues that she is passionate about such as race, class and gender.
“I feel like this production does a good job at showing you the human side of immigrants,” Castillo said. “They’re more than just the stereotypes that people push… I feel like this shows you a small story of people who were seeking refuge and didn’t make it, and still want their story to be heard.”