DENVER (CBS4)– A gem of the Denver theater scene is celebrating its 50th anniversary by finding new ways to meet the needs of its audience. Su Teatro will soon open a new production of “Chicanos Sing the Blues”.
The theater company now uses its stage to promote community mental health.
The ‘Blues’ show includes a ballad poking fun at Arizona’s controversial ‘Show Me Your Papers’ law – SB 1070. The catchy tune sheds light on an anti-immigration measure that has instilled fear and anxiety in a generation of Latinos.
Su Teatro launched “Drama versus Trauma” to explore generational trauma in the Chicano community. Realizing that their work on stage triggered repressed memories, executive artistic director Tony Garcia said audiences were hungry to share their own stories.
“It was an opportunity for us to heal, to talk things out. At one point we had to bring the paramedics in after one of the shows because somebody just started having this awesome flashback,” said Garcia said.
Unleashing the therapeutic power of theatre, “Chicanos Sing the Blues” explores the connections between Chicano music and Black R and B. It celebrates the strength of communities to create art as a means of healing.
“Drama versus Trauma” is a three-year initiative funded by the Caring for Denver Foundation. After the performances, trauma-informed coaches support the audience in a live discussion of the themes covered during the show.
Garcia said, “When we ask these questions about ‘how did they create this incredibly beautiful, magnificent reaction to pain, to suffering, to slavery, to disenfranchisement? “”
Yolanda Ortega has been playing with Su Teatro for 48 years. She says audiences love seeing their own stories come to life – both the good times and the tough ones.
Theater, she says, “Leaves you a little hope. Not that we have the solution on our shows but that leaves you with that yeah I’m fine. I’m doing well.
At a recent post-mass school shooting rehearsal in Uvalde, Texas, the soul music rendition was particularly cathartic for the cast members.
Ortega said, “And I think it feels good to know that we reflect what people feel because we feel it.”
“Chicanos Sing the Blues” opens at Su Teatro on the 7th and in Santa Fe on June 9 and runs until June 26. It plays Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. on June 26.
LINK: Su Teatro