Honoring the Dead


November 2nd. A day rich with Hispanic culture and traditions. Why? November 2nd is also known as Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead holds the purpose of honoring those who have passed away. Most celebrate it by creating altars, cooking food, and decorating graves of dead family members. Newport Harbor chose to celebrate it in the form of plans, through the art of theater.

On November 2nd and 3rd, Newport Harbor held bilingual stage readings of Un Hogar Solido by Elena Garro and Food for the Dead by Josefina Lopez in the Black Box theater.  A group of eleven bilingual students took on the challenge of bringing their own take to their Hispanic characters. Leslie Alcala, who portrayed Gloria in Food for the Dead, said that “it’s a modern take on the way in which Mexican families surpassed the old ideals and beliefs.” Although these plays were made to bring up a laugh, they were also made to raise awareness on the different issues currently circulating in Mexico.

Food for the Dead depicts a family celebrating and remembering their not-so-great father who had passed away. Ruben, the dead father, still controlled the family even in the afterlife. Candela, his faithful wife, still honored his death even after nine years. Their relationship truly was not the best. Ruben was similar to a tyrant in his own house and ruled with an iron thumb. He had come back from hell to revisit his family. He had them all on a leash. Candela had enough and took control of the house as Reina de la Casa (Queen of the House). Josefina Lopez added this in as a message to advise women to not let men control them. In Mexico, this is named Machismo.  Mexico has very traditional ways of how they treat women and children. Most believe that women are meant to be in the kitchen and nowhere else. This is highly incorrect as women are more than a person of servitude.  They are so much more. Women are strong, brave, and bold in many ways.