Wednesday, January 20, 2010
No, you probably have not heard of Proyecto Teatro, even though the group has been staging theatre and running classes in Austin since 2004. They're the only 100% Spanish language theatre in town.
Artistic director Luis Ordaz, a multi-talented wild man, both directs Abuelita de Batman ("Batman's Granny")and appears in one of the five short pieces. This piece was written in the 1980's by the highly prolific and successful Mexican playwright and screen writer Alejandro Licano.
Taking half a leaf from Austin's bilingual Teatro Vivo, this time the company provides English-language translations of the dialogue, projected on the cyclorama behind the actors on the cyclorama. They do the same on their YouTube trailers, embedded below.
Anglos without much exposure to Latino theatre and television may well be mystified by these pieces. Imagine, say, something along the lines of I Love Lucy with a very broad acting style, girly women and macho men, but written with an emphasis on sex and infidelity. Naughty in the way that Feydeau farces are naughty, with a broad satiric wink and the implication that the wicked generate their own punishment.
In 1980s Mexico this was scandalous material. In his recent posting on tripvine.com, Rob Faubion says that several Mexican municipalities banned the production.
Faubion calls Proyecto Teatro a "new theater troupe" -- an understandable mistake. Although the group has left a couple of neglected websites on-line and offers several interesting videos on YouTube, they have devoted their energy principally to their principal clientele, Austin's extensive Spanish-speaking population. They appear to be succeeding -- the Boyd Vance Theatre at the Carver Center hosted a good turnout last Saturday evening.
Read more and see promotional videos at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .