A world premiere theatrical production is coming to Santa Maria thanks to Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA). The San Patricios, will debut at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria, on Thursday, July 31st. The original work has been created by playwright José Cruz González, along with PCPA members. It has taken nearly two years to bring the play from concept to reality. The production will mark the second collaborative effort between González and Mark Booher, PCPA Artistic Director/Associate Dean. Booher will serve as director of The San Patricios.
Set during the Mexican-American War in the 1840’s, the play centers around a group of Irish-American immigrants who are enlisted into the United States Army. The immigrants are thrust into battle against Mexico in the unpopular war and realize their situation hasn’t improved since leaving their native country. "It’s an epic piece that we've created here. It's telling American history, it's telling Mexican history,” said González.
Under the promise of land grants and other enticements, the immigrants leave the U.S. Army and take up arms with their counterparts. Branded as traitors, the small group is tracked down and many are eventually found guilty of treason and hanged. "We took these pieces of history and it's fictionalized, but it's based on, you know, characters from the time period,” said Booher.
While the play is set during a time of conflict, González says it’s less about war and more about people and their struggles. "It's really a play about people in a really difficult situation and cultures colliding and fusing together and it's also very funny, it's also very touching."
Music is used throughout The San Patricios, an important element during the period that united the Irish immigrants and Mexican residents. "There were things like that I wanted to include into the soundtrack that really give you a broad picture of what this whole thing was all about. It's a time when all three cultures really came face-to-face with each other, which is really what the Mexican-American War was all about," said musical composer Daniel Valdez. The production includes ten period specific musical numbers, featuring song and dance from Ireland, Mexico and the United States.
The San Patricios will debut in Santa Maria on July 31st and will run through August 17th. It will later move to the Solvang Festival Theatre in Solvang from August 28th through September 7th. For ticket information, call (805) 922-8313 or order online at www.pcpa.org.