Su Teatro in Denver, CO will present MÁS, a true story about the Tucson Unified School District’s decision to end its Mexican American Studies program and the community’s battle to hold onto their history, identity and humanity.
Written by Milta Ortíz and directed by Anthony J. García, the play will run Thursdays through Saturdays from March 9-26. Performances will start at 7:30 pm, with a special matinee performance Sunday March 26th, 2 pm. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling (303) 296-0219, or by going on line at suteatro.org. $20 general admission and $17 students and seniors, special group rates are available.
The year 2010 was tumultuous for Chicanos/Latinos living in Tucson, Arizona. After the Arizona legislature passed a bill (SB-1070) that requires police to arrest or detain individuals they believe are not legal residents of the U.S., the same legislators passed another law banning Mexican-American Studies in schools. MÁS was written about the struggle taken up by students, teachers, and community members not only to protect academic freedom and the First Amendment, but to protect the ongoing commitment to acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of people of color to the American Story.
The playwright, Ms. Milta Ortíz, utilized personal interviews, media reports and court documents to tell this courageous story of the students’ struggle. She also used a familiar Chicano theater technique that blends today’s world with Indigenous ritual (in this case Mayan rituals) to better understand our past, present and future.
Ortíz was raised in the Bay Area of California, and now lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. She and her family immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador and she explains that she learned to speak English by watching television as a very young girl. MÁS was commissioned and developed at Borderlands Theater in Tucson Arizona through a National New Play Network playwright residency.
García, selected the play during a staged reading of it during the National Latino Theater Commons Carnaval Play Festival in 2016. When asked about the selection, García said, “As a Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, teaching Chicano Theater, I work with bright and excited young people every day. I could hear my students’ voices in the script and knew Su Teatro was a perfect place to produce MÁS.”
MÁS opens with students praying in a circle, a virtual sweat lodge, sacred in its meaning to Indigenous people. The playwright used these techniques to begin the healing and cleansing process that was needed for the Tucson community. Also, expect to experience García’s practice of embracing Indigenous rituals to help balance the story and our world, inside and outside of the theater space.