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Important Playwright Visits La Biblioteca

Calabaza en Tacha, a radio drama, earned local playwright Mario Ficachi an honorable mention in a contest in Germany in which 400 playwrights participated.

Calabaza en tacha is a pre-Hispanic sweet that even now is consumed and placed on the altars during the Day of the Dead. It is prepared with a pumpkin-like squash and piloncillo (unrefined sugar). It is called this because the piloncillo was poured into a container called a “tacha” to preserve the pumpkin.

 

By Jesús Aguado

Mexican actor, director, theater promoter, and playwright Mario Ficachi visited San Miguel de Allende and donated his book Evocaciones, Obras, Ensayos (Evocations, Works, Essays) to La Biblioteca, so that locals and visitors can consult it, read it, and get know more about the art of theater.

Ficachi recently told us about his career and about the book that he will soon present with director and playwright Pedro Allende at Teatro Santa Ana.

Although Ficachi worked for the School of Sciences and Humanities of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), he left his university career when he realized that his passion in life was dramatic arts. Soon he joined actors’ groups, UNAM’s La Casa del Lago and the Galpón group, among others.

After almost 47 years of acting, he decided that it was time to move away from the profession “because memory begins to fail” and to start collecting those experiences from his childhood and early youth (in the dramatic world) to translate them into plays.

This is how Teatro, Caos y Ley (Theater, Chaos, and Law) was created. This book contains short dramas like Calabaza en Tacha.

Excited during his interview with us, Ficachi told us that he entered the play in a contest in Germany and received an honorable mention, one of the biggest prizes. According to the playwright, he did not win first place because “tacha,” is untranslatable into German. Later, Mexican writer Juan Villoro, who had been part of the jury, told him that was the reason he missed first place.

Ficachi noted that Calabaza en Tacha tells the story of a journalist who was killed for denouncing the theft of ballot boxes. On the Day of the Dead, his parents visited his grave, arranged it with the classic elements, and brought him the food that he liked the most: calabaza in tacha.

This radio drama was produced in Paris with famous Mexican actor Roberto Sosa in one of the main roles. The play was also produced in Berlin by a Peruvian theater group.

The dramatist said that the book contains two essays, one of which won third place in the first essay contest by the Rodolfo Usigli Theater Research Center. In one of the essays, Ficachi described his research on the regulations that governed the theater business in 1700. According to the rules, actors were forbidden to go out and ask for donations. (That is what they did after a presentation finished in those days, says Ficachi.) Also, those in the audience who wore hats had to take them off during the play so that those in the back could see. Among other “jewels” that Ficachi uncovered during his investigation was that the audience was asked not to throw guavas or tomatoes at the actors.

To learn more about theater and Mario Ficachi, take a look at Evocaciones, Obras, Ensayos at La Biblioteca.

 

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