Bolivia's VIII International Theater Festival Launches With a Bit of Mischief

by APAC Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)

The play "El Duende", protagonized by the Sembrando Surcos Theater Troupe of Samaipata, opened the VIII International Theater Festival of Santa Cruz Bolivia, with a showing in Villa Primero de Mayo before an audience of over 400 people.

The play was put on by 13 children between the ages of 8 and 15 and was directed by Javier Salazar and Candelaria Roca Becerra. César Leonardo Herrera authored the story of Juanito and the Duende (Elf). "I wanted to combine the popular Bolivian legend with a story about the problems children suffer today in our towns, such as poverty," said Herrera.

"It took a lot of effort for us to get this far, but we finally made it," said Mallku Tusco (the Duende) while his companion, Sebastian Kusstatsacher (who plays Juanito) added, "I feel happy, it's such an honor to participate in this festival".

The cast was rewarded with applause throughout the play, which was viewed by students from four schools and numerous inhabitants of the Villa Primero de Mayo neighborhood. "I liked the whole play," commented Carol Nicole Molina (12) who made the trip from Montero with her school. Giselle Ramírez (11) highlighted the acting. "Each actor fit just right into his role," said the student.

Six months of arduous work went into producing the 45-minute play, "El Duende". The actors all participated previously in theater workshops that APAC (Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura) held in the area. The Sembrando Surcos cast "has a lot of talent...participating in this festival is an advancement," explained Director Javier Salazar.

Cecilia Kenning, President of APAC, and Marcelo Araúz, festival director, qualified the International Theater Festival as very important, above all because new generations beginning to take leadership roles in promoting cultural events.

Julio César Parra, director of the Edén school stated “It's important to highlight that the actors are very well prepared. They narrated a very pretty story for the kids”.

Marisol Vidal, a student, gave her opinion: “I loved the characters, and the narration, message and language were all well performed”.

Sebastian Kusstatsacher (12), played Juanito: “I began in theater because I wanted to lose my shyness. But I liked it so I stayed. Expressing sadness is hardest for me”.

Mallu Tusco (14), played the Duende: “I love being the Duende because he's mischievous and malicious... He always wants to be bad”.

Joshara Bonilla (8), played a tree: “In our town everyone is proud”.

Photos of the play "El Duende" (above). The Sembrando Surcos cast of Samaipata, 3 hours from Santa Cruz, launched the VIII International Theater Festival of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in which 107 theater events will take place over a 10-day period in the city of Santa Cruz and numerous outlying towns. 58 theater troupes from 16 countries will participate.

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