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

 

Latinx Shakespeares at The Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque

 

 

The Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque ran a series of Latinx Shakespeares that were performed outdoors in the summertime for Shakespeare on the Plaza at Albuquerque Civic Plaza. Romeo and Juliet (2014), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), and The Taming of the Shrew (2015).

 

The 2014 Romeo and Juliet was set in contemporary New Mexico, and it was directed by Bill Trabaudo, then a student at St. Johns College. Gerome Olona and Sage Hughes starred in the titular roles and Martin Andrews was Mercutio. “At the start of this production, everyone in the cast walks out looking at their cell phones” and the Chorus “is a homeless man with shopping cart and vodka bottle.”[1] The Montagues were Latinx and the Capulets were white. The Capulets were described as “latter-day mobsters dressed in business suits,” and the Montagues wore jeans and carried “police department-issued firearms.”[2]

 

The 2014 Midsummer was a semi-bilingual concept production directed by David Richard Jones and set on an 1850s New Mexico ranch. Olona played one of the Mechanicals and Hughes played Hermia. The cultural division was described as follows: “The Anglos are Theseus, Egeus, and the four young lovers. (Theseus and Egeus have settlers' accents, as if they moved in from Texas.) The "mechanicals" would be the Spanish-speaking population, with Peter Quince here affecting a classic New Mexico Hispanic accent. And the fairies are Native Americans in ceremonial dress.”[3]

 

The 2015 Taming was also set in nineteenth-century New Mexico. It was directed by Leslee Richards and Kathleen Welker. It ran in on alternate nights as their production of Julius Caesar.

 

To note, their 2016 co-production of Much Ado About Nothing with the City of Albuquerque was set in 1930s Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, and included flamenco dancing in the Capulet party scene.

 

 

CARLA DELLA GATTA

SEPTEMBER 2022

 

[1] Dean Yannias, “Romeo and Juliet: The Vortex Theatre at Albuquerque Civic Plaza,” Talkin’ Broadway, 25 June 2014. Accessed 12 September 2022.

[2] Kathaleen Roberts, “Contemporary Clothes and Racial Divisions form NM-style Romeo and Juliet,” Albuquerque Journal, 20 June 2014. Accessed 4 June 2020.

[3] Dean Yannias, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Vortex Theatre at Albuquerque Civic Plaza,” Talkin’ Broadway, 3 June 2014. Accessed 12 September 2022.

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