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Monday, Feb 12, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Live at 6 | Teatro La Maria Makes American Debut

By Zachary Levine Syracuse, NY (CitrusTV) – For the first time ever, an acclaimed Chilean theater group performed in the United States at Syracuse University on Monday.

In the Schine Underground, Teatro La Maria performed their play “Los Millonarios” (“The Millionaires”), which explores the issue of racism in Chile. The play was free and open to the public.

The play looks at the long-lasting feud between the government of Chile and the indigenous Mapuche people.

“The story is about a group of lawyers, a very wealthy group of lawyers, that defends an indigenous person that is involved in an act that the government calls terrorism,” Theatre Group Director Alexandra Von Hummel said. “This firm of lawyers hates the indigenous people, but they take the case anyway for vanity, because they want to win.”

The company’s visit is part of the Syracuse Symposium course, SPA 400, titled: “Women, the Arts and Social Change in Latin America.” During their visit, Teatro La Maria will also participate in two panel discussions about Chilean theater and the role of women in Latin American theater.

Professor Gail Bulman brought the play to Syracuse.

“My field is Latin American theater, so I saw a lot of theater performances in Santiago, and at at that point I saw this play and another play by this group, Theatro La Maria,” she said. “I thought it would be interesting to bring to campus because of its social justice and human rights messages.”

The group’s visit to Syracuse University will conclude on Friday with a workshop about theatrical adaptation. While in Central New York, Theatro La Maria will also perform at Hobart and William and Smith Colleges. The group will also perform another one of their hit plays, “El Hotel” (“The Hotel”), at SUNY Oswego.

“Theater can be a really important way to foster critical thinking skills,” Buman said, “to help us to understand the world better, to bridge cultural differences, to improve the world we live in.