Student Projects

¡HUELGA! The Actos of El Teatro Campesino

Author: Wendy Maples

Grade: 7th

Subjects: Drama, History, Spanish

Poster for Huelga project.
Students acting out a protest holding
Students on balcony holding protest signs
the word
Girl standing in front of bridge mural depicting woman raising fist and holding a flag.
Project display
Mural on bridge

What is Chicano Theatre?  How does El Teatro Campesino play a role in our American History?

How can I use my voice and body to tell effective stories?

What are the responsibilities/roles of the departments of a theatre company? [Production, Artistic, Education, Performance]

What is satire? 

Exploring Chicano Theatre, students will dive into the works of El Teatro Campesino to gain a greater understanding of revolutionary theatre in the United States circa 1965-present day.  Each class will be a fully functioning theatre company, responsible for the Production, Artistic Direction, Education/Research, and Performance of one acto.  We’ll spend a day in San Diego’s Chicano Park to explore the rich history of these actos and have our dress rehearsals in the heart of Chicano culture.  On exhibition night, students will lead a Farmworkers strike through the halls of HTMCV to the deliver their performance in our fields behind the school.

STYLE:  As a class, students will explore the concept of “satire.”  What are some examples of it?  How do we let an audience in on the joke without being offensive?

SCRIPTS:  Together, we read aloud 4 short scripts (actos) from El Teatro Campesino:

  • Los Vendidos
  • Las Dos Caras del Patroncito
  • Vietnam Campesino
  • La Quinta Temporada

Each class is assigned one acto to fully produce.

DEPARTMENTS:  A panel of theatre professionals is brought into the school to talk to students about the different jobs connected to departments of theatre.  Upon learning about the responsibilities, each student will choose to commit to one department:  Education, Artistic, Performance, or Production.

THE PROCESS:  Departments will rehearse/design/collaborate together to fully produce their acto for exhibition night.

EXHIBITION NIGHT:  In true Campesino style, students perform the actos on a flatbed truck in the fields behind the school!

Artistic Department:  Directors & Producers are responsible for casting actors from the Performance Department, creating a rehearsal schedule, running scenes with actors, and creating the overall vision for the acto.

Performance Department: Actors are responsible for auditioning for roles, memorizing lines and performing the piece on exhibition night.

Production Department: Designers & builders responsible for costuming actors, creating props, & building picket signs

Education Department:  Research & Dramaturgy- responsible for creating “Strike Leaflets” which will serve as project programs, & posters.

CHICANO PARK:  

If time allows, a field trip to Chicano Park adds a rich layer of real world connection to this project.  The origins of this project are rooted right here in our beautiful city and illustrated throughout the park with historic murals.  At the beginning of the day in the park, I allowed students to go on a kind of photo scavenger hunt; with their cell phones, they documented their morning and each other with pictures of murals and were required to email them to me later that day.  Their photos provided a beautiful backdrop for our strike wall which papered our dressing room on exhibition night.  Several of these photos were featured on their Education strike leaflets.

In Chicano Park, The stage provides a beautiful platform in the center of the park for dress rehearsals and gives students an opportunity to perform their actos for each other.  It also provides an authentic audience and environment for their performances.