Academic journal article Bilingual Review

"Yo, Casimiro Flores"

Academic journal article Bilingual Review

"Yo, Casimiro Flores"

Article excerpt

About the Play

Of all the plays in this anthology, "Yo, Casimiro Flores" is the most traditional when it comes to representing Chicano and Yaqui culture, reflecting decidedly Mexican values and popular celebrations.

This full-length play centers on the celebration of the Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a traditional holiday during which people remember and honor loved ones who have died. The commemoration consists of decorating their tombs or graves with colorful flowers and altars, preparing their favorite foods and beverages, and having a picnic at the cemetery. It is believed that the souls of those who have died return on the Dia de los Muertos to eat the food that has been prepared in their honor.

"Yo, Casimiro Flores" starts with the main character having a nightmare and regretting the fact that four of his friends died when they all tried to cross the border illegally. Casimiro had the opportunity to help one survive, but his fear paralyzed him. On this Day of the Dead, Casimiro plans to set up the altar in memory of those fallen friends and to bring their favorite foods and drinks to their burial places, but instead he gets drunk, wishes to die, and, as the saying "be careful what you wish for" suggests, Death pays him a visit. Death in this case is not the typical grim reaper; instead it is the Aztec god of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, and his sidekick, Calavera Nurse, both of whom are equipped with beepers. Mictlantecuhtli gives Casimiro an opportunity to redeem himself, and in the process the latter encounters a variety of characters ranging from those in traditional folklore tales, such as La Llorona, to popular real-life Mexican "legends," such as Cantinflas.

Through the use of numerous theatrical devices and symbolic images, "Yo, Casimiro Flores" reflects the hybridity of Chicano culture from the time of the Aztecs to the present day. The play teaches not only about a traditional Mexican holiday but also about Mechicanos' lives, the concept of the afterworld, and, above all, the rich culture that makes Chicanos, Yaquis, and Mexicans unique.

The development and first production of "Yo, Casimiro Flores" at the historic Guadalupe Theater in San Antonio, Texas, was made possible by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center under the Gateway Project funded by the Ford Foundation. The original music used in the play was composed by Raul Gonzalez Guzman, and the production was directed by Richard Talavera.

CHARACTERS

Except for CASIMIRO, ROCKY ROAD, MAD DOG, XOCHIL, DON PRISCILIANO, and MICTLANTECUHTLI, most roles may be doubled, depending on blocking and costume changes.

CASIMIRO FLORES: a Yaqui in his late thirties
EL COYOTE: any age
MIGUEL: mid- to late teens
JESUS: mid- to late teens
CARLOS: mid- to late teens
MARIEL: age fifteen
DON REMIGIO: a Yaqui maestro, very old, strong in appearance and
bearing

THE HUNTER/BORDER

PATROL AGENT:          any age
MICTLANTECUHTLI:       costumed and masked, tall, imposing, ageless
CALAVERA NURSE:        preferably chubby, in her forties or older
ROCKY ROAD:            twenty-five
MAD DOG:               very thin, young teen
XOCHIL:                fourteen, soon-to-be fifteen
DON PRISCILIANO:       old man, in his seventies
ALLEGORICAL DANGERS:   boulders, blades, winds, jaguars, and lizards
CANTINFLAS:            Need we say more? Rent and watch his movies.
LA LLORONA:            any age
CESAR CHAVEZ:          dignified bearing, in his sixties
EHECATL:               costumed and masked, any age
MARIA ISABEL:          chubby, in her seventies
EL TANQUE:             an obese, huge teen
EL PEEWA:              a runty, skinny teen

Also, recorded offstage voices of MANUEL, CASIMIRO'S MOTHER, XOCHIL'S MOTHER, MAD DOG'S FOSTER MOTHER, and ROCKY'S SUGAR DADDY.

Act One

TIME

The present, a combined Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, but note that CASIMIRO's dream takes place in 1977, somewhere at the border between Mexico and the United States. …

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