Thursday, March 19, 2009

Teatro Vista, Tanya Saracho and Our Lady

TEATRO VISTA, THEATRE WITH A VIEW is firmly committed to sharing and celebrating the riches of Latino culture with all Chicago theatre audiences. This commitment stems from the belief that there are as may similarities as there are differences, and that perhaps the answer to breaking down the walls of prejudice and stereotypes lies in understanding these differences. Ultimately, it is through this "view" that Teatro Vista intends to bridge the gap between Latino and non-Latino cultures in Chicago.

A Message from the Founders
Henry Godinez, Director-Founder Edward F. Torres, Artistic Director-Founder WE MET IN 1989, while working on a play together here in Chicago. We both felt that it was a shame that Latinos weren't getting roles outside of stereotypical casting. So we founded Teatro Vista. We hoped that all of Chicagoland could enjoy the sort of theatre that we had envisioned. Our Mission Statement is from our hearts and we hope that our "view" is one you share. We hope you like our "Theatre with a View" and will visit us in person, as well as our website, as often as you can.

Our Lady of the Underpass by Tanya Saracho 

The same week that Rome announced a new Pope, a woman driving home from work spotted an image of the Virgin Mary on a discolored wall of the Fullerton Avenue underpass.

Playwright Tanya Saracho renders the voices of those who were drawn to that wall, exploring issues of faith and desire in present day Chicago.
Tanya Saracho (Playwright) Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and moved to Texas in the late 80's. As the proud Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago's All-Latina Theater Ensemble, Tanya's writing has been featured in most of Teatro Luna's ensemble-built works including Generic Latina, Dejame Contarte, The Maria Chronicles, SOLO Latinas, S-E-X-Oh! and Lunatic(a)s.

Tanya's play Kita y Fernanda has received productions at Teatro Luna (2003) and 16th Street Theatre (2008) along with a reading at Repertorio Español while a finalist for the 2003 Nuestras Voces playwrighting competition. Other Awards include: The Ofner Prize given by the Goodman Theatre, Finalist for the Christopher B. Wolk Award at Abingdon Theatre in NYC, nominee for the Wasserstein Prize and winner of the Khan Award.

Her solo play Quita Mitos received a world premier with Teatro Luna, in November of 2006 and has toured colleges and festivals, including the International Hispanic Theatre Festival and the Goodman's Latino Theatre Festival. Other productions include: Jarred (A Hoodoo Comedy) and Lunatic(a)s.
Tanya is working on a fellowship in collaboration between The Goodman Theatre and the Institute for Women and Gender Studies at Columbia College on an interview-based piece titled 27 where she will interview one woman from each of the 27 countries that make up the Latin Diaspora.

She is also under commission from Steppenwolf Theatre to adapt Sandra Cisnero's "The House on Mango Street" slated to open in the fall of 2009. Directing/co-directing credits include: Solo Tu, Lunatic(a)s, the remount of Generic Latina, Piece of Ass for Estrogen Fest, The Maria Chronicles for both the Goodman's Latino Theater Festival and the critically acclaimed full-length run at Teatro Luna, and S-e-x-Oh!, Que Bonita Bandera and Three Days for SÓLO Latinas. Also an accomplished actor, Tanya's performing credits include Neil Labutte's Fat Pig with Renaissance Theatreworks in Milwaukee, Migdalia Cruz' Another Part of the House with Teatro Vista, Living Out with American Theatre Co./Teatro Vista, Electricidad at Goodman Theatre, and Angels in America and La Casa De Bernarda Alba with Aguijon Theater. Tanya is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and her voice can be heard around the country in radio and television commercials.

Sandra Marquez (Director) has been a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista, the mid-west's only Equity Latino theater company, since 1997 and served as the company's Associate Artistic Director from 1998-2006. In 2005 she made her main stage directorial debut with Teatro Vista's production of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner by Luis Alfaro. Previously she had conceived and directed an ensemble studio piece for Teatro Vista called Vampiros y Bebes. Other directing credits include student productions at various venues as well as her work with Yollocalli, the Theater Summer Outreach Program under the auspices of The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and The Goodman Theater which served the young people of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Teatro Vista acting credits include Icarus, Another Part of the House, Santos and Santos, Living Out (for which she was Jeff nominated). Other credits include The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner), Victory Gardens (Anna in the Tropics); The Goodman Theater (Mariela in the Desert, Electricidad, Massacre, Zoot Suit & A Christmas Carol); Steppenwolf Theater (Sonia Flew, One Arm, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Boiler Room); Madison Repertory Theater (Our Town).

Ms. Marquez is a member of AEA, AFTRA, and SAG and has worked in many industrial films and national commercials. Film and TV credits include Timer, Stranger than Fiction, Early Edition, Prison Break, Women's Murder Club and Big Bang Theory. Ms. Marquez has been on faculty at Loyola University, Eastern Michigan University and Columbia College of Chicago. Currently she is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University where she has been teaching since 1995.
Teatro Vista...Theatre with a View is at the forefront of the Latino theatre movement in the U.S. Chicago and ensemble based Teatro Vista is universally redefining the American landscape through the use of new, provocative and unique voices that reflect the Latino experience in the U.S.

After 18 years of existence it has empowered and encouraged "first voice" among the community and its artists.

Our Lady of The Underpass opens to Rave Reviews:

"Absolutely don't miss this really special piece!
Saracho's ear is terrific." – Kelly Kleiman, WBEZ Dueling Critics

"It is quite the artistic achievement."
Randy Hardwick,

"Our Lady veers — just like real life — from laugh-out-loud hilarious, to gut-wrenching to enraging to contemplative."
– Catey Sullivan,

"This is brilliant work that is worth the trip to see. Director Sandra Marquez has assembled the perfect cast to bring these characters to life."
– Alan Bresloff,

"The details of the monologues are perfect..." – Laura Molzahn, The Reader Newspaper

NOW Through MARCH 29

(To read our reviews visit this

Tickets are available now! To purchase please click or call 773-404-7336



Support Chicago HOPES, an educational program for the city's homeless children, at:

Casa Aztlán

1831 S. Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666-5508

Acknowledging the strengths of Mexican families, Casa Aztlán seeks to sustain the strong cultural identity of the Pilsen community by organizing and educating residents and providing supportive services in order to combat social violence, discrimination and poverty.

what i'm on
With a performance by Luis Humberto Valadez

what i'm on

Camino del Sol: A Latina/Latino Literary Series
, 64 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8165-2740-3, $15.95 paper

Luis Humberto Valadez is a poet/performer/musician from the south side of the Chicago area whose work owes as much to hip-hop as it does to the canon and has been described by esteemed activist writer Amiri Baraka as "strong-real light flashes."

His debut poetry collection
what i'm on is frankly autobiographical, recounting the experiences of a Mexican American boy growing up in a tough town near Chicago. Just as in life, the feelings in these poems are often jumbled, sometimes spilling out in a tumble, sometimes coolly recollected. Valadez's poems shout to be read aloud. It's then that their language dazzles most brightly. It's then that the emotions bottled up on the page explode beyond words. And there is plenty of emotion in these poems. Sometimes the words jump and twitch as if they‚d been threatened or attacked. Sometimes they just sit there knowingly on the page, weighted down by the stark reality of it all.

José García
put a thirty-five to me
my mother was in the other room
He would have done us both

if not for the lust of my fear


This new Mexican American/Chicano voice is all at once arresting, bracing, shocking, and refreshing. This is not the poetry you learned in school. But Valadez, who received his MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets at Naropa University, has paid his academic dues, and he certainly knows how to craft a poem. It's just that he does it his way.
Luis Humberto Valadez works as a coordinator and consultant for the Chicago Public Schools Homeless Education Program.

Recordings of Valadez performing his poems can be found at, Reverb Nation, and other Internet sites.

“Brave, raw, and exposing of a young mans consciousness. Luis’s work is not confessional in the limited, put-it-in-a-box way that big publishers like to market their material to liberal guilt.” -Andrew Schelling, author of Tea Shack Interior

“In voices colloquial and church, reverent and riotous, serious and sly; in rap and fragment, sound and sin; from gangs and minimum-wage jobs to astrology and Christ, Luis Valadez makes his fearless debut. This poetry is a painfully honest disclosure of identity and anger, and it is as mindful of falsity and as hard on itself as it is playful, loose, and loving. Sometimes the language is clear and cutting, while other times it disintegrates into sonic units and primal utterances: Luis calls upon the whole history of oral and verbal expression to tell his story—going so far as to write his own (wildly funny and disturbing) obituary.” —Arielle Greenberg, author of My Kafka Century

“On the trail blazed by innovators like Harryette Mullen and John Yau, Luis Valadez sends wild, canny, charged, and vulnerable prayers from the hard camp of contested identities. Each line, each word, is a blow against “impossibility” and the heavy pressure to be silent as expected. Interrogations of tradition(s) as well as celebrations, the irresistible poems in Valadez’s first collection exist at the exact fresh moment of deciding to live and to love.” —Laura Mullen, author of After I Was Dead

“Valadez’s work is not simply fierce language poetics… here is a writer—the genuine article—whose style is that of a truth-speaking curandero, offering sacred cantos to anyone interested in illuminating that inner revolution called corazón. To read his work is to discover the future of American poética! “
—Tim Z. Hernandez, author of Skin Tax

“Valadez’s impressions abruptly transport the reader from swaggering elucidation to raw pain. In a sometimes-resigned glance around for divinity, what I’m on triggers equally sudden heart-rippings, laughter, and cinematic naturescapes.
—Claire Nixon, editor Twisted Tongue Magazine

Holly Schaffer, Publicity Manager
University of Arizona Press

355 S. Euclid Ave., Ste. 103
Tucson, AZ 85719
Ph: 520-621-3920, Fx: 520-621-8899

Lisa Alvarado

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Windy City is also the Teatro city!