Sunday, April 14, 2019

Play a Day: Death and The Tramp (El Muerto Vagabundo)

Georgina Escobar
Fourteen plays in fourteen days!

For Sunday I read Death and The Tramp (El Muerto Vagabundo) by Georgina Escobar and available at New Play Exchange.

"The day you understand the meaning of death is the day you start living."

This lovely Día de Muertos play for children and families is presented in English and Spanish, and also through shadow puppetry, projections and several other magical stage elements to weave a tale of memory, loss and despair, as well as remembrance, determination, and hope, told with delight and clarity.

This uniquely original story did put me in mind of other tales of the Underworld and of the Dreamworld. The fear that those who have no living persons to remember them will be olividado, or forgotten, was the theme of the Pixar movie Coco (this play was produced a year before that film was released) though in Vagabundo, souls who are forgotten do not cease to exist, they wander the earth without a home.

That's where this piece takes on real world significance, as I wondered if the land of the dead truly exists, or if the earth is a place we never leave. Loss comes in many forms, death being only one of them. To be dispossessed, homeless, without a nation, unwelcome anywhere. There are greater fears than the end of all.

The setting is beneath a bridge. And don't we need more bridges.

Who should I read tomorrow?

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