Last Saturday, I had the enormous pleasure of taking my daughter to an absolutely wonderful bilingual cultural event in Denver: Cuéntame un Cuentito — storytelling at its best!
Four actors/musicians took the stage and they took turns bringing to life several popular Latin-American tales by reading, signing and/or playing an instrument. Some of the stories were performed by two actors, one reading in English and the other one in Spanish. There was also one guy who would play the congas or a drum as accompaniment to the stories being performed.
I must admit I didn’t really know what to expect, so I was blown away by the one-of-a-kind performance. Vanessa was kind of confused at first not really knowing what was happening, but she soon got into to it and she laughed, danced and sang all throughout.
I was extremely impressed with the quality of the production and even more so with the turnout. We were able to get in right before they basically starting turning people away because they were sold out! The audience was a nice mix of families and – from what I could gather – with a lot of children who are either in a dual language program or are learning Spanish in school, as well as those of us raising bilingual children at home.
Vanessa’s favorite, even though she was a bit scared, was Pietrita y La Llorona by Gloria Anzaldúa. Mine was Baila, Nana, Baila a Cuban folktale retold by John Hayes. It was performed by the sole male actor, Manuel Roybal, with whom I was so impressed that I couldn’t help but introduce myself and thank him for such a wonderful treat.
The program was directed by Gabriella Cavallero, a bilingual stage actress and artistic director who was born in Argentina and lived in Puerto Rico before moving to the U.S. when she was eight. I’d been wanting to meet her ever since Pam Fochtman told me she was one of the readers of her Lorito Books. Luckily, I had the pleasure of talking to her after the show and, after congratulating her, I let her know how much those of us raising bilingual children truly appreciate this type of events.
Hopefully we’ll start seeing more and more of them in my neck of the woods!