A slapstick comedy in Spanish encourages everyone’s ‘silly’ side
Pueden encontrar la versión en español aquí.
A lot of shows produced by the local nonprofit VOICES help people talk about their most vulnerable moments — the time they came to a new realization about their identity, grappled with major life changes or took a big leap toward a new goal. There’s humor, and some dramatic flair, but especially heart-wrenching stories and tender human connection.
But the latest production, part of a Spanish-language “Nuestras Voces” series, is different. “Noche Mística” is a goofy, slapstick show, written from scratch by the cast and crew, about a game gone awry. On the stage at The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) this weekend, silliness is the whole point.
“It's a comedy — it's nothing profound or (full of) philosophy,” said Livier Cruz Guerrero, one member of the cast. “It’s just to laugh.”
The play adds some mystical elements in the Mexican game of lotería, which is similar to bingo, with figures and characters in the place of letters and numbers.
Those figures, like “el árbol” (the tree) and “la chalupa” (a woman in a canoe) will be familiar to people who have played the game. In “Noche Mística,” though, there are some surprises, like a bewitched fairy and a psychic medium who get accidentally summoned during the game.
Sometimes, Cruz Guerrero said, you need some humor in your life.
“As a human, we have different emotions, like sadness, happiness, (anger),” Cruz Guerrero said. “So laughing is really something that brings you alive, you know, like crying. You have to express those emotions.”
And in this case, those emotions are expressed entirely in Spanish.
Lorenzo González-Fontes is the director of this show.
“That opportunity to ‘sacar la risa de la gente con nuestra lengua’ (make people laugh with our language), is very very special to be able to do that, because laughter is healing, I think,” he said.
González-Fontes is an associate artist with El Centro Su Teatro in Denver. It’s a nonprofit that focuses on Chicano theater and culture, and productions there are in a combination of Spanish and English.
He was recruited for this VOICES project in the Roaring Fork Valley, where close to 30% of the population identifies as Latine or Hispanic.
“Es muy importante a oír nuestra lengua en Colorado,” he added. “I think it’s good for us to make sure that Spanish is spoken here in Colorado, right?”
That resonates with members of the cast, too, like Flor M Paz-Pastrana. This is her second time acting in “Nuestras Voces,” after making her debut in 2021.
“Es increíble — it’s incredible,” she said.
“You don’t have a lot of Spanish shows, just like all Spanish, so when you see people come out and they’re just so happy to be able to have that here in the valley, you feel great about it,” she added. “Like, … yeah, we created this, and people are coming, and they’re enjoying it and asking for more.”
Every aspect of this show is Spanish first, from the dialogue on stage to the website where you can get tickets. English subtitles will be available at the show for people who don’t speak Spanish, but some of the physical comedy in the show doesn’t need any translation to give everyone in the audience a good laugh.