A Trilingual Play in English, Spanish and American Sign Language
Los Angeles, CA — Have you ever seen a Deaf Mexican on television? That was the impetus for the writing of the play Tamales de Puerco (Pork Tamales) which opens on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8:00 p.m The New Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. First Street (at St. Louis Street) in Boyle Heights, CA.
Mercedes Floresislas, whose son is Mexican and deaf, was sadden when she caught her son’s friends teasing him after he signed to them that he wanted to be an actor. Have you ever seen a Deaf Mexican on television? they signed back. She wanted to let her son know that anything was possible, that if he chose, he could be an actor. In the process Floresislas became a playwright. That journey began when she met Josefina Lopez, Artisitic director of Casa0101 and screenwriter (Real Woman Have Curves).
Floresislas first met López in January 2007 during a writing workshop Lopez was conducting. At that time, Floresislas discussed a dream she had of writing a story based on her Deaf experience. By September 8, 2007, Floresisas had finished writing Tamales De Puerco (Pork Tamales)” and by the end of September of that same year she had a table read of the play. López had become a mentor to her.
“Mercedes expressed an interest in writing about her Deaf experience in a play, and I encouraged her to do so, as I felt she could be a voice for the bilingual and bicultural community that didn’t have a voice in the theatre,” explained Lopez.
In addition to writing the play Floresislas is a producer an has multiple roles as an actor in the play as well American Sign Language Consultant. Floresislas was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but nurtured in Boyle Heights, CA. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA and her Master’s degree in Social Work from California State Los Angeles. Floresislas became involved with Casa 0101 when she realized that her Latino Deaf students and her Deaf son never had the opportunity to see Deaf Latinos and their stories represented in the media.
“Audiences coming to see this production will be in for a very special and atypical theatrical experience they may not have ever seen before,” said director Edward Padilla. “Three languages, English, Spanish and American Sign Language, are used interchangeably in the play. Supertitles, in both Spanish and English, will also be incorporated into the performances as well, which will help to underscore the telling of the story.”
Tamales De Puerco (Pork Tamales) received a Workshop Production at Little Casa 0101 Theater from November 14 – December 7, 2008 in Boyle Heights, CA and in March of 2009 had its World Premiere at California State University Northridge (CSUN) at the invitation of prominient Deaf leader, the late, Dr. Larry Fleischer invited the play after he saw the table read at Little Casa. In April of 2009, Floresislas received an inquiry about her play from the Talent Development & Diversity Department at NBC Universal.
The current Casa 0101 Theater Main Stage Production of Tamales De Puerco (Pork Tamales, being presented from April 3 – 28, 2013, features the playwright, Mercedes Floresislas, and her real life Deaf son, Michael Anthony Martinez-Islas appearing in multiple supporting roles in the show.
The cast: Arturo Aranda, Alfredo Avila, Oscar T. Basulto, Brian M. Cole, Maria Correa, Jaden Delgado, Mercedes Floresislas, Ramona Pilar Gonzales, Cristal Gonzalez, Dickie Hearts, Michael Anthony Martinez-Islas, Scott McMaster Lynn Moran, Miriam Peniche, Antonio Perez, and Olin Tonatiuh .
Opening Night: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at, 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 5:00 p.m. Limited Run: April 5 – 28, 2013
Preview performances will be presented on Wednesday and Thursday, April 3 and 4, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. Opening Night is Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. New Casa 0101 Theater; 2102 E. First Street (at St. Louis Street); Boyle Heights, CA 90033.
— Bel Hernandez