In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the World Languages Departments of the Alexandria and Manassas campuses hosted the Teatro Milagro at their respective campuses on September 30 and October 1.
Teatro Milagro, the theatre troupe, performed the bilingual Spanish-English play “Searching for Aztlán,” which raised awareness of the 2011 Tucson, Arizona school board decision to ban Mexican-American history courses and books in their high schools. Afterwards, students were able to ask the cast questions about the play as well as their personal backgrounds. In their discussion, the actors stressed the importance of education, political activism and maintaining fluency in Spanish, their heritage language.
Following the performances, the Milagro actors led “Journey to Aztlán” acting workshops, which focused on commedia dell’arte and political satire. Students participated in movement exploration and created five-minute actos or short comedic scenes that satirized contemporary issues of their choosing. At the Alexandria Campus, a temporary evacuation of the Tyler Building forced the students outside but did not deter them from performing their actos about immigration, income disparity, bullying and gay rights. Manassas performed their actos on the Colgan Theater stage, where students showcased their talents as they presented on discrimination, equal rights and bullying.
In their written evaluations, the majority of students stated that they would recommend the play to other NOVA students. They believed others should see it because, for example, it “challenges attendees to think critically about history” and “it’s important for all people to understand what Hispanic students go through, as far as the political situations.”
Professors Cris Sparks-Early and Martha Davis wish to thank all who participated and support these events. Davis would like to particularly thank professors Eddy Arana, Toney Davis, Amanda Trostle, Kate Al-Shamma, Jennie Ward and Jarrod Waetjen, the staff of the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, S.A.L.S.A volunteers and the Office of Student Life. Sparks-Early would like to thank Student Life Coordinator Marcie Schreibman, Student Life Advisor Cari Dresser and Professor Chaiya Ortiz for their help, support and work to make this performance and the activities of Hispanic Heritage Month run smoothly.