International Hispanic Theatre Festival

Peruvian group brings novel to life in ‘Los Ríos Profundos’


If you go

What: XXVIII International Hispanic Theatre Festival

When: Through July 28

Cost: $30 ($25 seniors, students, theatergoers with disabilities); 20 percent discount on tickets to three or more shows

Info: 304-445-8877,; 305-949-6722,; 305-237-3262,


Carnival Studio Theater in the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Teatro Prometeo and Auditorium, Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami

Onstage Black Box Theatre, Miami Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami

Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center, 2705 SW Third St., Miami

Miami Dade College’s InterAmerican Campus, 627 SW 27th Ave., Miami

Key Biscayne Community Center, 10 Village Green Way, Key Biscayne

The Shows

‘Cyrano mío’ (‘My Cyrano’) by Teatro Prometeo of Miami, 8:30 p.m. July 13, Teatro Prometeo (Spanish with English supertitles)

‘Juan Cristóbal, casi al llegar a Zapadores’ (‘Juan Cristóbal, Very Close to Zapadores’) by Compañía de Teatro la Laura Palmer of Santiago, Chile; 8:30 p.m. July 13, 5 p.m. July 14; Carnival (Spanish)

‘El país de las maravillas’ (‘Wonderland’) by Compañía Nidia Telles-Alejandro Martínez of Montevideo, Uruguay; 8:30 p.m. July 13, 5 p.m. July 14; On Stage Black Box (Spanish)

‘Las Fuentes de Bimini’ (‘The Fountains of Bimini’) by La Folía of Madrid, Spain; 8:30 p.m. July 13, 5 p.m. July 14; Koubek Center (Baroque music)

‘La paz perpetua’ (‘Eternal Peace’) by Compañía Nacional de Teatro de México of Mexico City, Mexico; 8:30 p.m. July 18-19, Carnival (Spanish)

‘La madre pasota y cosas nuestras de nosotros mismos’ (‘The Drop-Out Mother and Our Things That Are Our Very Own’) by Uroc Teatro of Madrid, Spain; 8:30 p.m. July 19-20, Teatro Prometeo (Spanish)

‘Salmo 91’ (‘Psalm 91’) by Ateliê Voador Companhia de Teatro of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; 8:30 p.m. July 20, 5 p.m. July 21; Carnival (Spanish; contains nudity and strong language)

‘Entre nós’ (‘Between Us’) by Tribo-Companhia de Artes Cênicas of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; 8:30 p.m. July 19-20, Koubek Center (Spanish)

‘Güepajé’ by Asociación Cultural Hilos Mágicos of Bogota, Colombia; 5:45 p.m. July 20, Key Biscayne Community Center (Spanish)

‘Coming Home’ by Jaume Vilaseca Trio of Barcelona, Spain; 8:30 p.m. July 20, 5 p.m. July 21; On Stage Black Box (jazz concert)

International Children’s Day (includes 5:45 performance of ‘Güepajé’ by Asociación Cultural Hilos Mágicos of Bogota, Colombia), 2-7 p.m. July 21, Miami Dade InterAmerican Campus (Spanish)

‘Marica’ (‘Fag’) by El Vasco Producciones of Buenos Aires, Argentina; 8:30 p.m. July 26-27, Teatro Prometeo (Spanish)

‘Otelo’ (‘Othello’) by Compañía de Teatro Viajeinmóvil of Santiago, Chile; 8:30 p.m. July 26-27, Koubek Center (Spanish)

‘Al pie del Támesis’ (‘On the Banks of the Thames’) by Teatro Avante of Miami; 8:30 p.m. July 24-26, Carnival (Spanish with English supertitles)

‘Siglo de oro, siglo de ahora’ (‘Golden Age, Our Age’) by Ron Lalá Teatro of Madrid, Spain; 8:30 p.m. July 27, 5 p.m. July 28; Carnival (Spanish)

Special Events

‘Journey to the Center of the Stage,’ an exhibition of costumes and sets; 7-11 p.m. Saturday, 4-8 p.m. July 14, 7-11 p.m. July 19-20 and July 26-27; Koubek Center (free)

‘Peru at the Festival,’ an exhibition of photos by Asela Torres; through July 28; Carnival lobby

‘Current Trends in Latino and Latin American Performing Arts’ Educational Conference, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 13; Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, Bldg. 2, Room 2106 (Spanish, free)

‘Theatrum Nuntia,’ works of artist José Torres Böhl; 6-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 19-20, July 26-27; Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Center Gallery (free)

‘Rehenes’ (‘Hostages’), film directed by Bruno Ortiz León of Lima, Peru; 2 p.m. Saturday, Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Auditorium (free)

Special to The Miami Herald

On the opening night of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival, Ernesto Ráez Mendiola — Peruvian actor, director and educator — accepted the festival’s life achievement award with the exclamation: “Theater is a collective effort!”

Fewer groups represent this truism more accurately than the iconic Peruvian theater company, Cuatrotablas, which took the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater immediately following the award ceremony to present the Spanish language play, Los Ríos Profundos.

It is an enigmatic play with a fascinating back story.

Los Ríos Profundos, directed by Cuatrotablas’ founder Mario Delgado Vásquez and performed by Vásquez, Flor De María Castillo and María Rodríguez Cardenas, is based on José María Arguedas’ novel of the same name.

It is a lyrical portrait of Ernesto, a boy who wanders throughout the Peruvian Andes in search of his father’s love and attention.

Since the novel is autobiographical, Vásquez’s stage adaptation involved extensive research into the life of the writer, who is an anthropologist.

The Peru of Arguedas’ childhood was severely segregated between los indios (Quechua-speaking indigenous people of the Andes) and Catholic Peruvians of Spanish descent.

Born in the heart of the Andes to a well-to-do family, Arguedas felt alienated by his father, a lawyer who traveled extensively. He took refuge in the language and customs of the indigenous servants who were charged with caring for him.

Actresses Flor De María Castillo and María Rodríguez Cardenas wear the large skirts, wide-brimmed hats, and white button-down blouses of the mamachas, Quechua-speaking indigenous women.

These mamachas symbolize Ernesto’s culturally divided world and identity.

Arguedas learned to read, write, and speak Quechua as a child, and Cuatrotablas’ adaptation is infused with words, songs, and phrases in Quechua.

Castillo’s powerful vocal abilities make her a standout.

Her voice soars from playful to melancholic as she sings in the traditional musical forms from the Andes.

Castillo’s voice transmits a rich range of emotions — it is one of the play’s purest treasures.

A cornerstone of Los Ríos Profundos’ work is that all actors portray the same character; in this case the three actors portrayed Ernesto, often simultaneously.

One actor will deliver a line or monologue and the others will echo it, creating a choral effect that is harmonious and often haunting.

In addition to Ernesto and Ernesto’s father, Vásquez also portrays an on-stage narrator.

Dressed in all white, he reads from pages that he periodically lets fall to the floor.

This reminds us of the play’s literary kinship to Arguedas’ novel.

The company said that because of difficulties in obtaining visas, it was unable to bring enough actors to fully perform the second half of the play, so Vásquez delivered it as a dramatic reading.

Read more Performing Arts stories from the Miami Herald

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