Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Chicano/Latino culture is a traditional fall celebration of life and ancestry. In alignment of the holiday celebration, the Mexican Heritage Plaza participates in the fourth annual showing of Teatro Vision’s Macario.
Production director Rodrigo Garcia describes the story of Macario, a poor indigenous woodcutter in colonial Mexico in the late 1700s, as someone who is hungry for more than something to eat.
“It’s not just about getting food, but being able to feed his hunger of not being poor, of being able to provide for his family and have his own dreams,” Garcia said. The play captures a time where the division between class and race between the indigenous people and the Spaniards was striking. “He is hungry to be free, too,” Garcia said.
The audience will see Macario go through a journey and come to the realization that, even in times of change, the poor and indigenous will have many difficulties changing their position in society.
With music and dance, Macario is also a family-friendly event that captures the beauty of a sometimes misjudged Latino tradition. “We see how we as Mexicans or Latinos celebrate versus European culture or Spanish culture,” Garcia said. “Spanish Dia de Los Muertos is more spooky, but for Mexicans it’s a celebration of life and that is part of a pre-Columbian ideology.” He added that Latino culture has a high value for life after death, and honoring the life of someone after they die.
“There are three types of death: the first is when you stop breathing, then when you’re lowered into ground and then when no one speaks your name,” Garcia said. “We want to honor that, so we continue to speak their name in a significant way.”
The show puts an emphasis on its production value and it will be a learning experience for those unfamiliar with Latino/Chicano culture, Garcia said.
“Hopefully, they can see the concept of what death means to us in a fun way,” he said. “We play with death, we play tricks with death as much as death plays with us.”
Macario runs from Oct. 13-23 in Spanish with English subtitles.