ESCONDIDO The California Center for the Arts, Escondido announces auditions for its fourth annual production of La Pastorela Mexicana. The audition and a special acting workshop will be held on October 12, 2004 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in Studio II at The Center. This traditional Mexican holiday play, featuring a hilarious adaptation by Tijuana playwright Ursula Tania, creates a special opportunity for North County families and students to participate in and experience performing arts at the region’s premier multidisciplinary arts facility. This community production is in Spanish with English supertitles.
In addition to offering students and community members the opportunity to participate in a professional-quality production, the project also creates the occasion for the Latino community to share a much beloved tradition, including song and dance, with community members and patrons of other cultural traditions. Marcos Martinez, professor of theater at Cal State San Marcos and an accomplished director who has worked extensively in Europe and the United States, directs the play.
The Pastorela tradition was first brought to Mexico by Franciscan priests in the sixteenth century. The comical narrative focuses on the conflict between good and evil as experienced by the pastores or shepherds who witness the events on the evening of the dramatic journey of Mary and Joseph as they seek shelter before the birth of Jesus. With the assistance of the Archangel Gabriel the shepherds overcome the comic antics of Satan and Luceferina and their own human weaknesses to find the true meaning of the season. Since its introduction more than 400 years ago, the Pastorela has become a tradition in all regions of Mexico and its contemporary performance reflects regional variations in song and dance. Performance of the Pastorela has also been a tradition in the American Southwest since its annexation by the United States in 1848.
Since it was first presented in 2001, La Pastorela Mexicana has been seen by more than 3000 community members and involved more than 35 adults and children as performers, many for the first time. The Center is confident that the 2004 production of La Pastorela will continue make performing arts experiences more accessible to audiences of Mexican heritage, as well as integrating the Mexican artistic heritage into the broader community building experience at the heart of The Center’s mission.