Teatronovelas Director Ricardo Gamboa, community leader in Chicago
On Friday, August 15th family, friends and many other members of the community gather for a free event at the National Museum of Mexican Art to cheer about forty of the most amazing and enthusiastic youth performers. Under the direction of Ricardo Gamboa these young men and women presented radionovelas and teatronovelas about different topics important to them and their community.
Meet Ricardo Gamboa, Director and drama instructor for Salud: Healing Through the Arts, a collaboration between Latinos Progresando’s Teatro Americano, Radio Arte and the National Museaum of Mexican Art in Chicago, IL.
"Since June 30, I have worked with 22 youth under the auspices of Teatro Americano of Latinos Progresando to create the premiere of a telenovela for the stage -- a teatronovela -- complete with commercials.” Ricardo Gamboa’s Facebook.
Performance program notes by Ricardo Gamboa
You are here. At an intersection. I do not mean 19th and Wood, the location of the National Museum of Mexican Art, but at an intersection of something bigger. Here. An intersection of people with a stage. It is sacred. We often see politicians or priests take stages. The idea is that they have something to say and a certain implied authority or credibility to which we should listen. I am sure after this production you will agree: We should lend authority and credibility and provide a stage more often to the young people of our city and world because their voice can be just as holy, strong, and, maybe, even more necessary.
These 22 young people have earned the right to converse with you from the stage: They have sweated daily through cutting edge American and Japanese physical theater training, weekly performances of collaborative pieces, research conducted through field trips, interviews and workshops with health and immigration professionals, and rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. All this to explore the intersection of health, immigration and youth issues and generate material for this production. At this intersection of time, in a warp speed ahead world and to go culture, I ask of you: Stop. Look. Listen. These are young people navigating and presenting complicated social issues and realities with just as much creativity, originality and nuance as any adult or professional.
Illegal immigration, denial of human rights, aggressive raids, the media glorification and real talk of drugs and gangs, violence, social pressures from gym shoes to sex, life and death -- This is their world. It is your world.
On the first day, in this program, we discussed social ills and though we recognized we could not solve them tomorrow, we realized we could solve them that day with how we treat each other. I quickly threw out the notion of hierarchy, the program was not about how I could instruct them, but how I could present possibility and they could teach themselves. It became not about what I would say, but what they could show me. In a world of individual idol worship of celebrities, historical heroes, and leaders and monuments; our room became one where everyone was equal and a leader. In this city there really is so much bad around for young people to become involved with, but they chose this work. They chose to stick with it, everyday, for seven weeks. I often said during our time together that stages are a place for gods and animals. Watch as these young people command with conviction and bite with ferocity.
You are here. At an intersection. A stage. A chance to unlearn and learn. The young people on this stage want to be heard. Listen. They want to speak. Talk back. You are here. A stage. An opportunity to discuss how we can be here -- in this world -- together and better.
Tags: alcoholism, language barriers, radionovelas, teatronovelas
Topics: Community Health, Ending Domestic Violence, Ending Homophobia, Events, Family, Health Care, Health Care Access, Immigrant Integration, Immigrants, Immigration, Language, Leadership, Mental health, New Routes Leaders, Partnerships, Storytelling, Youth
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This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.