Project Description

Using theatrical workshop techniques, students in this interdisciplinary course will explore the socio-political-economic history, literature, music, dance, graphic art and architecture that reflect the period of time commonly known as the Mexican revolution. The course will consist of both academic research as well as dramatic and musical performance. The work will center around adapting scenes for the theater from Mariano Azuela’s novel of the revolution Los de Abajo. Students will study, contextualize and incorporate various elements of Mexican folk music into these scenes. The course will culminate in a dramatic presentation of the work.

It would be wonderful to work with community members, especially musicians and singers, who have experience with the music and culture of this era and who would like share their expertise with the students.

Middlebury Contact: Olga Sanchez Saltveit

Cultural expertise found among community members.

The complexity of Mexican history, including the indigenous history of the regions.

Impact of centuries of Spanish colonization and Eurocentric values leading to the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century

The impact of the Mexican Revolution on the people of the rural areas of the country

 


I am new to Vermont, and continue to serve as Artistic Director Emerita of Milagro, the Pacific NW’s premiere Latino arts and culture organization. I am a professional theatre director who has focused on works by Latina/o/x/e playwrights, as well as generating devised works, for the past 20 years.

Mateo Saldivar (’92 & ’08), co-teaching with me, is a professional actor who has performed in many Broadway and off-Broadway productions, both dramas and musicals. He has studied Los de abajo, as it is set in the region of Mexico where his grandfather lived., and he has begun the work of adapting the novel for the stage.

 


Students will bring a number of skills to the course, including acting and musicianship.


Academic goals for this course include:

  • To emerge from this course with a greater understanding of and appreciation for Mexican history and culture of the early twentieth  century;
  • To gain a deeper understanding of the sociopolitical dynamics that led to the Mexican revolution;
  • To learn to play, sing music, and dance reflecting the folkloric cultures of Mexico
  • To engage with community members,
  • To strengthen college-level writing and oratory skills, as well as critical thinking and creative analysis


The class meets during J-term, Jan 6- Feb 3, 2022, Mon-Thurs 1pm – 3:30pm. Ideally a community member would engage with the class once or twice a week during the term. However, even visiting the class once to share experiences and skills would be appreciated.


Community partners will have experience and skill with Mexican folklorico music and/or dance and the ability to share some of those skills with the students who may have no previous experience at all.


Throughout my career as Artistic Director at Milagro, the Pacific NW’s premier Latina/o arts & culture organization, I have worked with numerous creative artists from Latin American countries who are highly skilled in their craft but who have not chosen to work as  “professionals,” that is, they do not choose to make a living as an artist in this country. Their experience is invaluable.