Microteatro San Miguel: A Cultural Bridge
By Henry Vermillion
After four weeks of activity, Microteatro San Miguel continues full speed ahead with a second four-week season. The new theme of the six 15-minute plays is “Film.” The series will run through August 7; the performance days are Thursday through Saturday from 7pm to 11pm, and Sundays beginning at 6pm.
The new theater venue is located in a remodeled house on Reloj 70 in centro.
Some of the plays are in English, some are in Spanish, some are very funny; in some the humor is black or erotic. Most of all, the setting for the plays is intimate. Sets and props are at a minimum, but the actors are professionals, and amazing and magical things happen.
All the plays are new and previously unpublished. The Microteatro welcomes submissions from local playwrights of 15-minute plays in both English and Spanish. The current film theme coincides with the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF).
The Microteatro works like this: six 15-minute plays are performed six times in rotating order with a 15-minute break between each show. Tapas are made according to authentic Spanish recipes. A tapas bar serves drinks and tapas when the theatergoers are between shows. After 9pm, several new (more adult-themed) shows are presented. Prices are discounted if buying tickets for three or more shows.
There is a certain bohemian atmosphere about the place, an inevitable informality not usual with theater, which adds to its charm. The first round of plays was almost unanimously vigorous, fast, and funny. One of the most popular was Ten Dollars for a Peso, a play set in a future in which the US economy has tanked and unemployment and hunger is severe. On the other hand, Mexico has miraculously become rich and successful (a peso is now worth 10 dollars). Playgoers were ushered into a trailer-truck filled with boxes.
Another (Tribulations of a Gigolo) opens with a very nervous but excited middle-aged widow who awaits the arrival of the gigolo she has hired. A third (Matanzas Casera) begins with a repressed and resentful daughter calmly explaining why she has murdered her mother. The overweight mother who lies dead on the floor, her throat cut, pops up and gives her side of the story.
As a director of two of the plays at the Microteatro, I have been impressed by the skill and professionalism of the Mexican actors and directors involved. I had no idea that there was such talent here. As most of us—both English and Spanish speakers—know, there is usually a social gulf here between English and Spanish speakers. The Microteatro San Miguel is a cultural bridge, which welcomes both groups in a congenial setting.