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Russell Rodriguez (Santa Cruz) collaborating with Teatro Visión de San José (San José) 

Award: $40,000 Traditional Arts Grant awarded in 2017

To Premiere: October 2018

San José’s Chicano theater company Teatro Visión and master musician and composer Russell Rodriguez are creating an original bilingual play and studio recording of the music composed for the play. The play addresses how members of the Bay Area Latino community today bring meaning to the moments when they confront death and dying. The artists have drawn themes for the work from conversations with community members, from such classical novels as Pedro Páramo and The Road to Tamazunchale, and from Mexican/Chicano/indigenous cultural and spiritual traditions and belief systems.

For more than 40 years, Russell Rodriguez has worked as a musician of traditional and contemporary music of Mexico and the United States. Since the age of 11, he has been mentored by master artist Artemio Posadas, recently named a U.S. National Heritage Fellow. Other key participants will be playwright Evelina Fernández, choreographer Samuel Cortez, Production Director Elisa Marina Alvarado, and Teatro Visión Artistic Director Rodrigo Garcia.

Teatro Visión, a Chicano theater company founded in 1984, has commissioned, developed, and/or produced more than 60 plays. The project is a continuation and expansion of the theater’s current model of community-centered play development. Previously, Rodriguez and Teatro Visión worked together on Marcario, a well-received musical performance that also was developed through community input. The new work, supported in part by the Creative Work Fund, will premiere at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in October 2018.