The cast of "Jotos del Barrio." (Photo: JPL
PRO - Julián Pablo Ledezma)
'Jotos del Barrio' returns in new production at
QSanAntonio, May 14, 2014
Jesus Alonzo's play, "Jotos del Barrio," which explores the
lives of gay and transgender Latinos, is getting a new production at the
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center 19 years after it was first presented
there as a staged reading.
The play consists of a collection of poems, monologues, and vignettes
in which Alonzo examines the lives of individuals who struggle against
racism and homophobia in a society where they lack full acceptance.
The word "jotos" is of Mexican-Spanish origin and translates
roughly into English as "faggots."
Alonzo wrote the drama in the mid-1990's while attending Carleton College
in Northfield, Minnesota. In a 2002 interview with the San Antonio Current,
he says it was anger that provoked his desire to express what he saw as
the exclusion of the Latino experience in "queer iconography."
"I was taking a class called 'Queer Pictures,' and we watched videos,
we had discussions, and we read articles. But the only thing was that
it was a black-and-white issue — so you were either a black queer
or a white queer," he told the Current. "Here I am taking this
course that I'm supposed to feel included in, but here I am being excluded
Playwright Jesus Alonzo (Photo: Facebook)
Alonzo said that despite the play's universal themes, he wrote it to satisfy
his own need for expression. "What I find is very interesting is
that even though it was a reaction to this discussion, the piece is all
San Antonio, it's all 'familia,' and it's what I'd been fighting - all
the internal strife, and all the internal battles that I fought. I did
it for myself. It was like when you need to exhale or when you're underwater
and you need to just come up for a breath, you're doing it for yourself."
"Jotos del Barrio" was first produced as a staged reading at
Esperanza in 1995. It received a fully-staged production in 2002 at the
Jump-Start Performance Company where it played to critical acclaim especially
for the casting of transgender performer Erica Andrews in a critical role.
Alonzo is also the author of "Miss America: A Mexicanito Fairy’s
Tale," which was staged at Esperanza in 2009 with Andrews, who died
in 2013, as the fairy godmother to a gay Mexican-American boy.
"Jotos del Barrio" is being published this
year by Kórima Press of San Francisco. (Cover image by Davíd
The new production of "Jotos" is directed by Maria A. Ibarra.
Assistant director is Omar A. Leos. It opens on Friday, June 6 in conjunction
with the play's publication by Kórima Press of San Francisco. The
newly-released book, which has a forward by author Aniel I. Flores, will
be available for sale during the run of the play.
The cast of the production includes Maximo Anguiano, Manuel Barraza, Linda
Copeland, Jaime Gonzalez, Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez, and Toni Sauceda.
A press release by Esperanza describes the play's dynamic, saying it "embraces
timeless issues that continue to remain as relevant today as ever. The
show speaks to audiences, communities, and a grand sector of the United
States population that is searching for voice, equality, and representation
with a raw truth that makes one want to listen."
Esperanza Peace & Justice Center presents, "Jotos del Barrio"
by Jesus Alonzo. Performances on Fridays: June 6, 13, 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: June 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at 2 p.m. Sundays:
June 8, 15, 22 at 2:00 p.m. Admission: $12 pre-sale. $15 at the door.
The producers are hosting "special event" nights. June 6 will
feature an Erica Andrews Tribute. On June 14, there will be a pre-show
reception ($20 per person). June 21 is Sabado Tareada with $7 discount
on tickets. June 22 is Sunday Brunch con Drag featuring a post-performance
drag show ($25 per person). For more info or to purchase tickets, call
210-228-0201 or visit www.esperanzacenter.org.