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latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, mexican shakespeare, chicano shakespeare, bilingual theatre


Romeo y Julieta

Directed by David Lozano

Cara Mía Theatre Co. (Dallas, TX) - 2013

Romeo y Julieta (2013)

by Trevor Boffone


Cara Mía was founded in 1996 by Adelina Anthony as a home for Chicanx theater in the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) Metroplex. After a rocky first decade that saw the company nearly shutter, Lozano took over as Executive Artistic Director in 2009 and has grown the theater into a mainstay of the DFW theater community and one of the most-respected Latinx theater companies in the United States. Although the company has primarily produced new works by Latinx writers, Cara Mía has dabbled in Latinx Shakespeares on a few occasions. Such was the case with Cara Mía’s production of Romeo y Julieta, which ran from December 6-21, 2013 at the Latino Cultural Center, Cara Mía’s theatrical home just footsteps from downtown Dallas.


David Lozano’s relationship with Shakespeare draws back to his early days as a performer when he played Bottom in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream while studying at the University of Texas at Dallas. Later, when Lozano decided to produce his adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, he “was  looking  at  the  universal  qualities  that  are  so  extraordinary  that  they  break  out  of  any  cultural  parameters.”[1] Lozano admits that, as a Mexican American, “Shakespeare often comes across as an obstacle because of its difficulty to understand and perform,”[2] something that translates to both Cara Mía’s audiences and the theater company itself given how the organization primarily emphasizes Latinx playwrights. Accordingly, productions like Romeo y Julieta become projects in making Shakespeare relevant to the dreams, passions, struggles, and voices of the DFW Latinx community. Speaking on behalf of Cara Mía, Lozano asks, “How can Shakespeare fit in with us?”[3]


The nexus for Romeo y Julieta began when Lozano’s mother-in-law from Mexico was visiting. Lozano’s wife, core Cara Mía company member Frida Espinosa-Müller, and her mother would sing boleros to each other while doing menial tasks around the house. Lozano was struck by these songs of love and heartbreak. One day, his mother-in-law sang to his wife from the banister which made Lozano think of fiery love. Lozano then picked up Romeo and Juliet and the material spoke to him in a new way. Lozano admits, “I could just sense the heated tension of all of the characters in the public places. And then, of course, the sparks that are flying with Romeo and Juliet, and then Romeo and his buddies.”[4] While diving into Romeo and Juliet, Lozano recognized how the story felt like it could take place at anytime, anywhere, especially within the DFW Latinx community. From there, he began collaboratively cutting and adapting the script, and identifying how the company could make use of their bilingual actors to tell a story that only Cara Mía could tell. Several Cara Mía mainstays were featured in the cast, including Julieta Mimi Davila (Julieta), Ruben Carranza (Romeo), Ivan Jasso (Mercutio), and Espinosa-Müller (Nurse). The production still relied heavily on English, but still featured a noticeable percentage of dialogue in Spanish depending on the character (i.e., half of Nurse’s lines were in Spanish).


From there, Lozano began creating this bilingual Romeo y Julieta which featured different identities within DFW’s Latinx communities. For example, Romeo and his friends were b-boys, or break-dancers. The Capulets had a southern Tejano quality. This helped create the cultural clash in a way that made the play more relevant for Cara Mía’s audiences. Moreover, in typical Cara Mía fashion, the production made use of live music to enhance the storytelling. In this case, S-Ankh Rasa composed an original musical score filled with percussion beats to underscore the production’s dramatic tension.


Cara Mía’s production of Romeo y Julieta remains one of the few Latinx Shakespeares that the company has produced. Notably, the company’s first Latinx Shakespearean production was Espejos (2004), a bilingual riff on The Tempest. Espejos was a collaboration with Laboratorio de la Máscara, the Mask Laboratory from Mexico City. Espejos used masks and relied on the Commedia dell’Arte style to bring the play to life through physical actions and imagery. It is worth noting that Espejos relied heavily on the Laboratorio de la Máscara ensemble, with Lozano and Espinosa-Müller being representatives from Cara Mía. As of this writing (May 2022), Cara Mía is currently exploring a future production of The Merchant of Venice.


MAY 2022



See also:

M. Lance Lusk, “The Sweetest Rose,” Theater Jones, 16 Dec 2013.




[1] José Cruz González and David Lozano, “Diálogo: On Making Shakespeare Relevant to Latinx Communities,” in Shakespeare and Latinidad, edited by Trevor Boffone and Carla Della Gatta (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), 154.

[2] Barbara Bogaev with José Cruz González and David Lozano, “Shakespeare in Latinx Communities, with José Cruz González and David Lozano,” Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 176, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2021.

[3] Bogaev, “Shakespeare in Latinx Communities.”

[4] Bogaev, “Shakespeare in Latinx Communities.”

All images courtesy of Cara Mía Theatre Co.

Cara Mía Theatre Co., Romeo and Julieta (2013)
Cara Mía Theatre Co., Romeo and Julieta (2013)
Cara Mía Theatre Co., Romeo and Julieta (2013)
borderlands Shakespeare

Mimi Davila (Julieta) and Ruben Carranza (Romeo) in Romeo and Julieta Photography by: Adolfo Cantú-Villareal / TZOM Films 

Mimi Davila (Julieta) and Ruben Carranza (Romeo) in Romeo and Julieta Photography by: Adolfo Cantú-Villareal / TZOM Films 

Romeo and Julieta at Cara Mía Theatre

(Dallas, TX) - 2013

Marketing poster

Mimi Davila (Julieta), Ruben Carranza (Romeo) and Rodney Garza (Friar) in Romeo and and Julieta Photography by: Adolfo Cantú-Villareal / TZOM Films

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