Louis Valdez's 1963 stage debut The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa returns to the Miracle Theatre groups Main stage with a vibrant and raucous performance. Impressively written while Valdez was still in school at San Jose State University. Valdez would go on to be regarded as the father of Chicano Theatre in America as well as write and direct the film La Bamba, about the short life of rock and roller Richie Valens. The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, set in mid-1960's California, is a broad satire of potentially offensive stereotypes, impossible odds, and the tragedies of the "American Dream"... oh and a talking severed head played with maniacal glee by a hilarious Vincente Guzmán-Orozco. Veteran stage actor and José E. Gozález returns to ... Panco Villa from his 1990 turn as the rebellious son Joaquín, now plays Pedro his idealistic drunken father.
Prolific film, television and stage actor Bunnie Rivera reprises her 1990 role as Cruz, the long suffering matriarch, mother to the delinquent Joaquín (rising talent Albert Alcazar) , the assimilationist Vietnam veteran son Mingo (Miracle Theatre veteran Danny Moreno), a lovesick henpecked daughter Lupe (a vibrant Yolanda Suarez) and "special child" Belarmino (the aforementioned Guzmán-Orozco) Rounding out the cast are a lovable Erubiel Valladares Carranza II as Chato Lupe's bumbling love interest and Gary Corbin as a somewhat villainous law official. The Poignant identity politics, class struggle, familial discord that bubble beneath the broad satirical slapstick seep deep into the audience and ask us to examine ourselves and our motivations to strive for middle class acceptance , a message that is timely given the economic demise of this country at this time.
Olga Sanchez assuredly directs a cast with varying degrees of experience among them thoughtfully. Drammy Award winning Costume Designer* Lori Sue Hoffman, hot off the heels of Cooler once again proves she's as prolific as she is talented. Mark Loring's sets are part authentic home part roach infested comedy and are a triumph. The show is a showy, raucous, offensive, and delightful at all once: part Richard Pryor - part chicano All in the Family , part macabre fantasy. The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa is a powerful and entertaining satire of the American experience.
* Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights.