tlf news

Vol. xl # 2

April, 2019

Celebrating 40 years

Dear Friend of teatro la fragua:

teatro la fragua is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Celebrating theater in the time of exodus? Celebrating theater in the time of forced displacement and mass migration and family separation?

It sounds odd, I know. You are used to hearing about Honduran families at the U.S. border, seeking asylum from the horror show that is playing throughout Honduras. A horror show that features terror, corruption, and ruthless poverty as its main themes. A horror show that leads Hondurans by the tens of thousands to jump out of the fire of daily Honduran life and into the frying pan of potential family separation and incarceration at the U.S. border.

And I write to you about exciting and challenging and entertaining theater?

Yes. You see, for forty years, at the end of every performance, the teatro's actors have gathered to proclaim, "Tierra, Aire, Fuego, Agua. Todos somos teatro la fragua." Translated, that is "Earth, Air, Fire, Water. We are all teatro la fragua."

"Todos" ("all of us") represents our reply to the horror. It proclaims that the teatro's work emerges from a broad collaboration that spans years and borders, that rejoices in the courage and talent of those in the teatro community. A broad collaboration that produces an alternative to the horror show. A broad collaboration that includes you.

This summer, I am lucky--and proud--to be here in El Progreso, watching the teatro and the 40th anniversay celebration up close. It's hard to believe that from its humble beginnings in 1979, in the remote mountain town of Olanchito, the teatro has delivered forty years of hope in times of despair: seventy-two produced plays, twenty-nine international tours, five enduring seasonal programs staged every year and now sewn into the cultural fabric of Honduras and Central America.

In honor of the teatro's 40th, la fragua will present two plays that are representative of its dual mission of putting smiles on the faces of the Honduran people and of challenging the structures that produce the horror show. Las dos caras del patroncito and Tío Coyote y Tío Conejo are both delightful Honduran classics, set in Honduras about Hondurans, and both help Hondurans celebrate the beauty and joy that are our replies to the horror.

In addition to mounting these two classic plays, the teatro will celebrate forty years with the publication of La Fragua: el teatro jesuita de Centroamérica. It is a project I've worked on for two years--a comprehensive look at the history, theory, practice, and cast of the teatro. It will be published by the university press at the University of Central America (UCA), the Jesuit university in El Salvador. We'll let you know when it comes out.

Right now, however, I write to ask for your financial support for la fragua, support that allows the teatro to continue producing quality theater in Honduras. As you probably know, the teatro is committed to paying its actors and staff a living wage--a countercultural commitment in Honduras. Your support puts tortillas and queso on the tables of la fragua's 22-member Honduran team, while also helping us produce exciting and challenging and entertaining theater. Your gift helps produce joy, beauty, and work with dignity. A living rebuttal to the horror show.

The teatro is working from the inside to change the economic and political structures in Honduras, so that its citizens can find peace and justice, culture and prosperity, right here. The themes of la fragua's plays and its commitment to offering dignified work get at the root causes of the migration crisis.

Will you help us confront these root causes by making a special anniversary donation to la fragua?

You can do so by sending a check to teatro la fragua through the Jesuit Province:

teatro la fragua
c/o Jesuit Advancement Office
4511 W. Pine Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108-2191

Together, we work for justice in Central America. We allow kids to be kids for a while. We help develop a spirited artistic culture in Honduras. We resist the horror show.

Together, we are all teatro la fragua.


David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.

Visiting Faculty, Xavier University

Author of La Fragua: el teatro jesuita de Centroamérica

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