ABOUT THE PLAY
Las Nuevas Tamaleras had it’s world premier at El Teatro Bilingue de Houston for it’s First Annual Latino Playwright’s Festival, Houston Texas, September 1990. It soon had it’s San Antonio premier at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in March 1993. Since then the play has been produced by Theatre Three in Dallas, TX., Teatro Vision in San Jose, CA, La Compania de Teatro in Albuquerque, NM, Centro Su Teatro in Denver, CO. Laredo Little theater in Laredo,TX and back to Teatro Bilingue de Houston. Besides the annual holiday San Antonio production, Burras Finas Productions has toured the play throughout the country.
The sense of loss I felt after my mother’s death served as an inspiration for writing Las Nuevas Tamaleras. It may seem odd that such an experience should inspire me to write a comedy, but it makes perfect sense to me. In my family, humor and laughter were ever present. My mother was known to condone a joke, if it was good, even at inappropriate moments, such as, say, funerals. Humor was a most important part of her life. Laughter, I believe, is a very important element of the Latino experience.
With her passing, I felt an urgency to hold on to my quickly fading cultural traditions. How better to do that than to write a play, a comedy, about tamales. Tamales were as important to my mother as humor. In writing Las Nuevas Tamaleras it was important to me to recreate the characters that linked me to my past. It pained me to see my traditions being buried with my parents and grandparents. It become vitally important for me to capture their language, their idioms, their values.
It gave great pleasure to write Las Nuevas Tamaleras, I hope it gives you the same pleasure as you watch it.
ALICIA MENA (Doña Mercedes)
After working with many of the major theaters in the Houston theater community for years, Alicia Mena relocated to San Antonio in 1993 where she worked at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center as writer, director and actor. In 1995 she founded Burras Finas Productions with the mission of staging an annual production of Las Nuevas Tamaleras which is included in an anthology of works by Latina writers published by the University of Arizona Press entitled Puro Teatro. Ms Mena’s full-length comedy, There Comes a Time was developed and produced by Teatro Esperanza for the First Annual Festival Latino in San Francisco, CA. The play has also been produced in Houston at Stages Repertory Theater and at Talento Bilingue de Houston.
RUBY NELDA PEREZ (Doña Juanita)
For over 35 years, Ruby, has worked professionally with several theatre companies; including Teatro Bilingue de Houston, El Teatro de la Esperanza; and a company member of Los Actores de San Antonio. Ms. Perez is well known for touring nationally with her acclaimed one person productions: Doña Rosita’s Jalapeño Kitchen, Doña Rosita’s Dia de los Muertos and A Woman’s Work. For more information on Ruby, please visit her website; www.rubyneldaperez.com. “I am so happy to return with Las Nuevas Tamaleras, a play that has a special place in my heart!”
PATRICIA ZAMORA (Sylvia)
Patricia has performed roles from Brecht to Sondheim, and earned a BA in Theatre with an Acting Emphasis from St. Edward’s University. She has a myriad of experiences on stage; performing with Bill and Tek’s Excellent Theatre Company, marketing/fundraising at the Alley Theatre, teaching and directing theatre in public schools and community theatres and as an emcee. Her current project is her one-woman show; Because We Were Poor. Patricia gives thanks to her wonderful husband Rick and children Xander and Chloe for their love and constant support.
SONIA M. RODRIGUEZ (Josie)
Sonia has been with Las Nuevas Tamaleras since 1993. She graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1999 with a BFA degree in acting and theatre education. Sonia has been acting professionally since 1987. She currently teaches theatre arts at Pleasanton Jr. High and Pleasanton High School. She directs the UIL One Act Play for both schools. She was named Pleasanton ISD teacher of the year in 2006-07, an honor she sincerely appreciates. In 2007, Sonia graduated from Walden University with a Masters in Integrating Technology in the Classroom. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her niece, three nephews, family and friends. Sonia would like to thank her parents, family, friends and the Tamaleras’ fans for all their love and support.
KRISTINA KELLER (Patsy)
Keller is a founding member of Burras Finas Productions and has been a Tamalera since 1992. Keller has been acting professionally since the age of 14 and played the lead in several productions of Alicia Mena’s including the comedy, There Comes a Time. Kristina attended The Houston International Theater School and has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, as well as numerous films, commercials and musical theater productions around the country.
“Mena’s Las Nuevas Tamaleras is a delightful bilingual comedy that’s funny even if your Spanish is as minimal as mine.”
— William Albright, The Houston Post
“Playwright and director Alicia Mena offers us a slice of contemporary Chicano life that allows us to honestly laugh at ourselves. There’s a price to pay, however, as Las Nuevas Tamaleras forces us to ponder the preservation of our cultural patrimony.”
— Eduardo Diaz, San Antonio Express News
“Las Nuevas Tamaleras is about passing on a culture to generations that have adopted new lifestyles. The idea may seem didactic, Ms. Mena gets her point across with so much humor and wisdom that the lessons need no salsa to help them go down.”
— Lawson Taitte, The Dallas Morning News