The first annual "Teatro Nuestro" Latino theater festival is underway in Chicago's Little Village or La Villita neighborhood.
Last weekend, I saw the first play of the series called "Los Carralejas" performed by Colectivo El Pozo.
The script by Raul Dorantes tells a compelling story that is playing out far too often in Mexico. The play revolves around an upper middle-class family in Mexico whose father has been kidnapped.
There is a twist. Someone close to the family might be involved in the kidnapping.
The story paints a portrait of a wealthy Mexican that many in the United States may not be familiar with. One son is a journalist and his children are studying French. Another son runs the family business. A third son is an elected official, and a fourth is studying in the United States.
They form an interesting group and their fears and distrust of one another are revealed.
The acting is sincere, the storyline is strong and so is the directing by Carlos Jaime.
It's great to see community theater available in the Little Village area, which is predominantly Mexican. This is the first Latino theater festival in the neighborhood. Most Chicago theater companies are located on the North Side of Chicago and few are located south of downtown.
The play is in Spanish but there are English subtitles projected at the bottom half of the stage. If your Spanish is lacking, it's best to find a front row seat so you can read the subtitles.
Los Carralejas (The Beetles) is playing again this Friday and Saturday night at the Little Village Theater, 2950 W. 25th Street. It runs through April 22 and tickets are $10.
Later in the spring two other plays will be performed at the same location. "Chin-Chin El Teporocho" by Armando Ramirez will be performed by El Tecolote theater group May 11 to 20.
The Repertorio Latino will perform "No hay ladron que por bien no venga," by Dario Fo from June 8 to 17.
The performances by these local Latino theater groups is made possible with a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.