Saturday November 18th 2017

“Pedro Paramo” Latino Theatre Fest

pedro1 Since 2003 ( hard to believe it has been ten years already) The Goodman Theatre, in order to bring attention to Latino Theater companies, both local and from other countries, has presented its “Latino Theatre Festival. In come cases, it has been every other year, but in all cases, it has been quality theater, appealing to all audiences. They are starting this year’s Festival with a “partnership” with Teatro Buendia, Cuba’s most celebrated company and the brilliant production of “Pedro Paramo” ( a World Premiere). This sparkling production uses both Cuban actors and local talents as well , including some of the actors we have seen in Teatro Vista and Teatro Luna productions in Chicago. They have also added to this 90 minutes of dazzling story telling the music of Sones De Mexico ( a Chicago favorite in the Mexican community).

The story is about a son who returns home to meet his father and what he finds is not what he had anticipated. Juan ( Sandor Menendez) finds that his town is made up of the “walking dead” whose lives were destroyed by the acts of his father Pedro Paramo ( brilliantly portrayed by Henry Godinez, who is also the co-director of this production and the creator of the Latino Festival,itself) Juan finds that his father’s appetite for all he can garner has destroyed the small town where he was born and that the people are what we call the “walking Dead”. Pedro himself , who has lost the one true love of his life Susana ( the beautiful and very sensual Charin Alvarez) and waits fro her return from the dad.                                                                      pedro3

Directed by Godinez and  Flora Lauten on a very simple stage in the Owen Theater ( the smaller, more flexible venue), this sparkling production, performed in Spanish , with English subtitles above) tells an amazing version of Juan Rulfo’s novel as adapted by Raquel Carrio. Under normal circumstances, watching sub-titles on a screen can be a detraction, but I found myself not needing to look at the English words as the story telling by this glorious cast led me to follow the story with very little difficulty. The music ( composed by Zacabe Picardo) was both haunting and mesmerizing and the action on the stage kept the audience at full focus on the amazing story.

Paramo is a powerful character and Godinez transforms him from paper to reality with just the right touch. The people in his life, who loved him greatly and feared him more, being destroyed by his desire for power all suffer because of his hunger and his own son, Juan, finds that his world is destroyed as well. The cast is composed of some powerful actors, among them, Dania Aguerreberrez,Alejandro Alfonzo,Ivanesa Cabrera, Steve Casillas*,Laura Crote*,Carlos Cruz, Sandra Delgado* and Indira Valdes. Those marked with a * are from Chicago, all the others from Cuba. Together they work their special magic in bringing this story to life.

Chicago audiences were privileged to see an early version of this play back in 2010’s Latino Fest, and now, the full fledged production that shows we do not need fancy sets and costumes to make audiences appreciate theater. What we experience with this production is the visual and the language as well as some music to tell a story as brilliantly as if we read the novel and used our own imaginations. I spoke with a lady sitting next to me who had read the novel this production is based on, both in English and in Spanish, who expressed how this production made it all even clearer. Hats ( or should I say Sombrero’s) to Henry Godinez for making this happen and bringing this marvelous production to the stage of The Goodman Theatre.

“Pedro Paramo” will continue at The Goodman through March 31st with performances as follows:

3/26  7:30 p.m.

3/27  7:30 p.m.

3/28  7:30 p.m.pedrologo

3/29   8 p.m.

3/30  2 and 8 p.m.

3/31  2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $14-$32 and are available by calling the Goodman box office at 312-443-3800 or online at www.GoodmanTheatre.org/LatinoTheatreFest

this is a 90 minute show, no intermission and open seating.

Special Events at The Goodman

Monday,March 25th Sones de Mexico IN CONCERT  7:30 p.m.   $20.00

Thursday,April 18th Affinity Night as part of the next production “The Happiest Song Plays Last” April 13th thru May 12th. The final production of the festival is “HomeLand” a new journey from Albany Park Theater Project. Check out the website for more info on how you can maximize your Latino experience with The Goodman.

To see what others say about “Pedro”, go to www.theatreinchicago.com, Review Round-up and click at “Pedro Paramo”

 

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