Departera: Teatro Visión’s Original Production to Premiere

The cast of Departera rehearses. (from top left) Melinda Marks as Cihuat, Ugho Badú as Tecu, Sean Wainzinger as Lola, Marsha Dimalanta as Mari, Elizabeth Murillo as Connie, Carolina Pérez as Juana. Photo Credit: Nicole Pérez, Cherry Pink Productions.

Elisa Marina Alvarado

Special to El Observador

Indigenous spiritual elders view death as the shedding of a temporary physical ‘package’ releasing an essential, energetic self (or spirit). Similar to many world traditions, our spirit can be at peace if we have lived in an honorable and loving way.     

Teatro Visión’s original production, DEPARTERA is a beautiful collage of stories where death is a teacher. It is also the story of a community reclaiming a cultural history of death as a journey to Mictlan, a place of spiritual evolution facilitated by the guardians and forces of duality, Lord Mictlantecuhtli and Lady Mictecacihuatl.  The play was inspired by the work of traditional curanderas and hospice workers who have been wonderful guides and supporters during times of profound change. 

A creative team including playwright, Evelina Fernández, composer Russell Rodríguez, Directors Elisa Marina Alvarado and Rodrigo García worked together over a period of 2 years to develop the play through study of the novels, The Road to Tamazunchale (Ron Arias) and Pedro Páramo (Juan Rulfo), community dialogue, story circles, collective songwriting workshops, online conversations and our own personal reflections on mortality, love and loss. The creative process was supported by Teatro Visión’s Managing Director Leigh Henderson, Project Manager Dianne Vega, consultant Rosa Gonzalez (Facilitating Power), Community Outreach Coordinator Jackie Gamboa and wonderfully talented actors and musicians.

The play features vibrant original music of our Chicano/Mexicano neighborhoods. Composed by Russell Rodríguez and to be performed live by veteran Chicano musicians, Charlie Montoya, Chris Gonzalez-Clark, Miguel Govea, and Russell himself, the music is sure to be memorable. Teatro Visión is excited to partner with Russell Rodríguez to produce its first CD of the music of DEPARTERA, which will be for sale at all performances. 

Performances will take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and on Sundays at 2:00 pm, October 11th – 21st at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose, California.  Tickets are available online at, by phone at 1-800-838-3006, and can be purchased at the box office before each performance, space permitting.