Celebrating Latinidad: Latino Arte supplies theatrical and cultural experiences for oft-forgotten audiences

If you would like one thing achieved properly, do it your self. That was what Annamaria Cavallone and Mario DelaRosa determined 21 years in the past, after changing into pissed off by the dearth of Spanish-language arts programming within the Reno space.

Cavallone, a local of Chile, got here to Reno in 2000, having fallen in love with the world throughout a highway journey. However there was one thing she didn’t love, which she continuously expressed to her author/journalist husband, Mario DelaRosa.

“Once I got here to Reno, there was no theater for the Latino group. So I stated to Mario, ‘I need to see theater, however there isn’t a theater.’ I’d say this each three or 4 months,” she stated, turning to Mario, who sat beside her throughout the interview. “And what did you say to me?”

“I stated, ‘You’re complaining an excessive amount of. Why don’t you make it?’” DelaRosa stated.

Cavallone had earned a bachelor’s diploma from the College for the Arts, Sciences and Communication in Chile, with an emphasis in theater, whereas DelaRosa, a local of Mexico Metropolis and a graduate of the College of Nevada’s journalism program, was a talented author and editor. The 2 had met at Ahora, Reno’s former Hispanic-American newspaper, the place DelaRosa had been the editor, and Cavallone a reporter. They had been educated, creatively proficient and linked to the Latino group. DelaRosa’s concept was a very good one.

Cavallone posted an advert in Ahora inviting individuals who wished to behave (or who had been keen to be taught); 4 ladies and 7 males responded. She had her theater troupe, Brown Eyes Too, which Cavallone says continues to be solely one among seven Latino troupes within the nation, and definitely the one one in Nevada.

However they nonetheless wanted performs to carry out. So DelaRosa sat down to write down a play a few younger lady who wished to go to varsity, however whose husband insisted she ought to solely concentrate on her wifely duties. The brief bilingual play, Carmenzita’s Dream, was carried out in 2003.

Having originated in two completely different Latino nations, the couple realized they’d tapped into an enormous want for extra arts and tradition alternatives that had been inclusive of all members of the Latinx group. Whereas there may be typically an inclination to ascribe comparable traits to all, they’re every distinct. For instance, Cavallone had no expertise with the custom of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Useless), which is broadly celebrated in Mexico. Their theater firm might turn out to be a approach for her, and others unfamiliar with the custom, to study it.

As soon as once more, DelaRosa penned a play for the corporate—Dia de los Muertos—which bilingually traces the historical past of the vacation by way of the voices of youngsters.

Cavallone and DelaRosa, along with their ever-growing troupe of native actors, each beginner and seasoned, have produced 10 performs altogether, normally springing from their want to study individuals and cultures, be inclusive of others and discover themes that join us all. These have included a preferred Spanish-language manufacturing of The Vagina Monologues and the unique bilingual manufacturing of LGBTQIA+ Latinx.

A photograph from final yr’s Day of the Useless Competition. This yr’s is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29.

Greater than theater

The couple’s work started to develop past the bounds of theater into particular occasions. The primary of those, Fiesta on Wells, they created to have a good time Nationwide Hispanic Heritage Month. The favored annual occasion takes place over 4 blocks on Wells Avenue, with dozens of distributors and group organizations showcasing their choices, and dwell musical performances representing numerous Latino backgrounds.

One other vital feather of their cap is the annual Dia de Los Muertos competition, held on Pueblo Avenue in entrance of Reno Little Theater. Along with cubicles for distributors, it hosts an unique play by DelaRosa and Cavallone telling the story of the vacation, that includes two 12-foot-tall Catrinas, in costumes made by the pair.

Working underneath the umbrella title Latino Arte, their mission is to develop alternatives for celebrating and studying about Latinidad and sharing it with new audiences.

“We signify range,” DelaRosa stated. “We need to be included, however we additionally need to be inclusive.”

Brown Eyes Too, now Teatro Brown Eyes, continues to be the theatrical arm of Latino Arte, having fun with its standing as a resident firm at Reno Little Theater for the final eight years. In 2020, the couple secured nonprofit standing for Latino Arte, enabling them to decide to the enterprise full time—after years of working tirelessly on a volunteer foundation whereas sustaining full-time jobs. They’re additionally dedicated to paying their performers stipends as properly.

With the assistance of grants from numerous native and state companies, Latino Arte has prolonged its programming to incorporate final June’s Mariachi and Folklore of the Nations Competition, honoring the artwork and tales of Indigenous peoples, in addition to the bilingual Poetry Encounters occasion that made its debut in early August, that includes readings from native Latino authors in addition to a Spanish guide honest, to deal with one other void locally: Spanish-language books and bookstores.

Brown Eyes Too, now Teatro Brown Eyes, continues to be the theatrical arm of Latino Arte, having fun with its standing as a resident firm at Reno Little Theater for the final eight years.

The corporate’s progress and elevated recognition has additionally helped it safe night entry to the Exercise Heart constructing at Teglia’s Paradise Park in Reno. The massive area supplies them with a venue for rehearsals, their weekly Native Drum Workshop and different actions.

And there actually are loads of actions. The Latino Arte firm—which has grown in its 20 years to incorporate a roster of greater than 100 actors—is gearing up for this yr’s Fiesta on Wells, going down Sunday, Sept. 24. And its fourth-annual Day of the Useless Competition will prolong to 5 separate space places on Sunday, Oct. 29: Pueblo Avenue, the College of Nevada campus, the Nevada Museum of Artwork, the Carson Valley Neighborhood Heart in Gardnerville, and a location to be decided in Carson Metropolis.

Teatro Brown Eyes will reprise final winter’s bilingual manufacturing of The Wizard of Oz in February 2024. The present will seem each in Reno at Reno Little Theater and, due to grant funding, in Carson Metropolis (at venue to be decided).

Regardless of their dedication, they are saying it’s an uphill battle to lift consciousness of what they do.

“It’s actually onerous to convey the Latino group to the theater,” Cavallone says. “For occasions, it’s not so onerous, however now we’ve so many occasions going down on the identical day right here. So we hope that now we’ve this constructing, it helps.”

For extra data, go to www.latinoarte.org.