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Performance in the Borderlands welcomes renowned Chicano theater company

September 08, 2009

The ASU Herberger Institute’s School of Theatre and Film Performance in the Borderlands.

The Performance in the Borderlands series opens its fall season with a classic work by Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino, Sept. 25–26. The Borderlands initiative is designed to bridge cultural boundaries by offering events featuring artists, critics and scholars creatively exploring the U.S./Mexico Border region.

Valdez’s play, La Carpa de los Rasquachis “The Tent of the Underdogs,” is presented bilingually in both English and Spanish, and follows Pelado, a Chicano farm worker who emigrates to the U.S. in search of fame and fortune. The story is brought to life with Mexican ballads known as “corridos,” marking life’s triumphs and tribulations with the use of ironic humor and a rollicking Tex-Mex beat. Characters of misfortune and fate stalk the young man in the guise of “el Diablo,” the devil, and “la Calavera,” death. Continually tricked and betrayed, Pelado finds himself in the hands of manipulative growers, contractors, social workers and finally, the undertaker.

Luis Valdez has been characterized as the father of Chicano theatre. His first play was staged by the drama department at San Jose State College in 1963, and he founded El Teatro Campesino two years later as a touring farm workers' theater troupe. El Teatro produced one-act plays – often without stage, script, or props – that dramatized the circumstances of migrant workers and ignited a national Chicano theater movement. Writing and directing credits by Valdez include El Fin del Mundo (1976), Zoot Suit (1978) and Tibercio Vasquez (1980). He directed the popular film La Bamba in 1987. 

Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, 51 E. 10th St., ASU Tempe campus

Sept. 25–26, 7:30 p.m.


Public Contact
Tickets: Herberger Institute box office, 480.965.6447
Info: School of Theatre and Film. 480.965.5337 

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta Valenti
ASU Herberger Institute 
School of Theatre and Film