Since 1995 Teatro Izcalli, a San Diego based Chicana/o comedy troupe, has been performing throughout the United States at various local, state, and national conferences and venues from as far as New York City to the Centro Cultural de la Raza. Our focus, following in the tradition of La Carpa, Teatro Campesino, and Culture Clash is to present the traditions, challenges, opportunities, and issues related to Chicana/os. Our actos(sketches) and plays address issues such as racism, identity, higher education, health education, and representation of Latinos in the entertainment industry.
Teatro Izcalli has produced two full-length plays written by Macedonio Arteaga, “El Nopal Boy” and most recently “Juan More Beer” which is an educational comedy about the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo. In 2008 and 2009, the play was performed at the Lyceum Theater to a sold-out crowd of 500 people. Also in 2009 we produced our “Anthology” show which is a compilation of our most loved sketches from the past years. These sketches are also featured in our first published book titled “Nopal Boy & Other Actos”.
In addition to performing our own original pieces we have been able to work on several interesting projects here in San Diego County. In the spring of 2000, we were hired by the City of Chula Vista to perform skits to dispel the misconceptions that the Latino community had about Census 2000. Through well-crafted sketches and with ingenious characters we informed Latinos about the benefits related to completing their census. We performed on trolleys, in restaurants, movie theaters, bus stops, schools, and where ever there was an audience to hear the message. The following years, we also received funds from the California Arts Council, the Commission for Arts and Culture, and the Chicano Federation to produce videos and educational theater workshops with elementary school students, youth, and parents with children from 0 to 5. We produced a teen pregnancy prevention video with students from Mission Bay High School, an anti-tobacco video with elementary school students from San Ysidro, and an educational video for parents highlighting child safety, parenting skills, and immunization education.
In the last few years we have worked diligently to take the message of Chicano theater to more high school students in California. We estimate to have reached thousands of students and plan to continue with this very important endeavor.