Zoot Suit and Other Plays

Zoot Suit and Other Plays

Zoot Suit and Other Plays

Zoot Suit and Other Plays


This collection contains three of playwright and screenwriter Luis Valdez's most important and recognized plays. Zoot Suit, Bandido and I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges. The anthology also includes an introduction by noted theater critic Dr. Jorge Huerta of the University of California-San Diego. Luis Valdez, the most recognized and celebrated Hispanic playwright of our times, is the director of the famous farm-worker theater, El Teatro Campesino.


It is a pleasure to introduce the reader to Zoot Suit, Bandido! and I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges!, as well as to their celebrated creator, Luis Miguel Valdez. These plays have never been published before and are an important addition to the growing corpus of Valdez's writings that have been preserved for future theater artists, students, scholars and the general reader. These three plays represent only a fraction of Valdez's astounding output since he first began writing plays in college.

For some, Luis Valdez needs no introduction; for others, his name may only be associated with his more widely seen films and television programs. No other individual has made as important an impact on Chicano theater as Luis Valdez. He is widely recognized as the leading Chicano director and playwright who, as the founder of El Teatro Campesino (Farmworker's Theatre) in 1965, inspired a national movement of theater troupes dedicated to the exposure of socio-political problems within the Chicano communities of the United States. His output includes plays, poems, books, essays, films and videos, all of which deal with the Chicano and Mexican experience in the U.S. Before discussing the plays in this collection, I would like to briefly trace the director/playwright's development, placing him and these plays in their historical context.

From Flatbed Trucks to Hollywood Sound Stages: The Evolution of Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez was born to migrant farmworker parents in Delano, California, on June 26, 1940, the second in a family of ten children. Although his early schooling was constantly interrupted as his family followed the crops, he managed to do well in school. By the age of twelve, he had developed an interest in puppet shows, which he would stage for neighbors and friends. While still in high school he appeared regularly on a local television program, foreshadowing the work in film and video which would later give him his widest audience. After high school, Valdez entered San Jose State College where his interest in theater fully developed.

Valdez first full-length play, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, was produced by San Jose State College in 1964, setting the young artist's feet firmly in the theater. Following graduation in 1964, Valdez worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe before founding El Teatro Campesino. Valdez became the Artistic Director as well as resident playwright for this raggle-taggle troupe of striking farmworkers, creating and performing brief comedia-like . . .

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