If you adore Mexican nostalgia and tumultuous love stories, then don’t miss “El Agave Rojo” (the Red Agave) at University of Guadalajara’s Conjunto de Artes Escénicas (CAE) on December 8 and 9.
Presented by Guadalajara’s Youth Symphonic Orchestra (Osijug), “El Agave Rojo” (produced in Spanish) takes place in the prosperous town of San Lucillo, a fictitious mountainous community that owes its wealth to agave. During vast political changes, the musical pays tribute to the zenith of Mexican film in the post-revolution era.
“‘El Agave Rojo’ is like a 1940s movie, an homage to the Golden Age of Mexico cinema,” said Xavier Jaramillo, who wrote the script as if it were an actual full-length motion picture from the period.
Originally from Harlingen, Texas, 43-year-old Jaramillo has lived in Guadalajara for the past year, singing opera and giving voice lessons. Both his Mexican heritage and his first visit to Jalisco’s capital inspired him to create “El Agave Rojo.”
“I loved the colors of Mexico, the food, the drinks,” said Jaramillo. “‘El Agave Rojo’ is a collection of stories that I would hear when my grandparents and older aunts and uncles would gossip.”
Juan “Tucán” Franco from Osijug coordinates the music. His association has been putting on musical theater productions for the past 14 years, but they have never done anything as folkloric as “El Agave Rojo.”
“For us, it will be a special change to adapt ourselves to this form, but without a doubt it also represents a musical challenge,” said Franco. “Making folk music has never been easy; in its sound, in the instrumentation, it’s a big dare.”
Plans to bring the production to the United States are already in motion, especially to showcase tapatío talent on U.S. stages.
“All of the work that goes on in the background helps us permeate a social benefit and artistic development to our community,” said Franco. “Osijug is everyone’s. It’s open.Each time we are more.”
Felipe Garcia is the stage director with a cast of more than 70 actors and actresses. Some of the protagonists include Ana Paula Sánchez as Mercedes, Rafael Rojas as Leoz, Brenda Velázquez as Gertrudis, plus many more.
Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 8 and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 9 in Sala 2 of the Conjunto de Artes. Tickets are on sale on conjuntodeartesescenicas.com or the box office. Prices range from 200 to 400 pesos.