Many young immigrants have parents and grandparents who do not speak English. When their families attend school events, like plays and programs, they aren’t always able to understand what’s going on. If the children attend museums and other cultural events with their families, they have to translate for their older family members. The children’s plays presented by Teatro Tercera Llamada (TTLL), however, are bilingual and the children are able to attend with their parents, grandparents or other extended family and enjoy the play together. Offering plays in their native language as well as their adoptive language, English, also gives important cultural identity to these children and their families and creates a sense of inclusiveness in our community.
TTLL has developed a bilingual play, working with co-founder Carlos-Manuel, a top Latino playwright from East Richmond Heights, California. Carlos-Manuel’s plays focus on social justice within the U.S./Latino experience. The story is based on a Latino folktale that all children and adults have heard: La Cucarachita Martina. It’s a story of Martina, the little cockroach, who finds a coin and decides to use it to buy make-up to make herself beautiful. She, indeed, makes herself look beautiful and attracts many suitors. She discovers that having beauty doesn’t mean she is loved for who and what she is but rather what she looks like. She rejects all of the suitors for this reason. In the story, she meets a shy mouse and they fall in love and marry. In the TTLL play, the story ends with Martina meeting Mr. Perez, the little mouse, and instead of marrying (since all stories don’t have to end in the girl getting married), the two become best friends because they have so much in common including a love for reading. The ending will tie in very nicely with the location partners for this play: The Louisville Free Public Library (Iroquois, Bon Air and South Central Regional branches), New Albany Floyd County Library and The Alley Theatre Arts Caravan. The plays will be open and free to the community thanks to this generous opportunity from The Yum Foundation and the Fund for the Arts’ ArtsMatch. Thank you!