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The Sun Serpent

World Premiere

The Sun Serpent


by José Cruz González

Directed by Rachel Bowditch

October-November 2011, Tempe Center for the Arts

Produced by Childsplay

Original Score by Daniel Valdez, projection design by Adam Larsen, set design by Carey Wong, costume design by Connie Furr, lighting design by Tim Monson and original masks by Zarco Guerrero. 

Director's Note
The Sun Serpent
is the result of a two-year devising process that began in January 2009, followed by three weeklong devising sessions with the Associate Artists of Childsplay and a nationally renowned artistic team assembled from New York, Seattle, California, and Chicago. From a one-page synopsis and concept created by José Cruz Gonzalez, I led the Sun Serpent artistic team through a physical theatre devising process that resulted in eleven drafts of the script.

This historical poetic story of the conquest of Mexico seen through the eyes of a young boy, Anáhuac, who struggles to save his world from the conquistador, Hernán Cortés, was of great interest to me as a director. While this history left a trail of darkness and destruction, this story is ultimately about hope and the struggle to find the courage to persist against all odds.

Embedded within the macro history of the conquest is the intimate story of a boy and his brother who are forced to take sides—one brother joining the conquest against the Aztecs and the other fighting to preserve the memory of his ancestors and culture that was being brutally erased.

Having three actors play over 30 roles offered the challenge and opportunity to explore difficult historical subject matter through the use of masks, physicality, and multi-media. The unique challenge of staging such an epic tale is to create a magical theatrical universe where the children are transported into another world that is unfamiliar to them.

This journey of struggle and transition, while historically and culturally specific, is also a universal one that resonates across historical and geographical boundaries—our aim was to make it accessible to a young audience. This adventure story is not only entertaining but portrays the strength of the human spirit.

The project was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

‘Sun Serpent: Interview with director Rachel Bowditch,’ José Cárdenas, Sounds of Cultura, Horizonte/PBS Channel 8 Click on hyper-link:

Sun Serpent: Interview with Director/Sounds of Cultura/Horizonte/PBS

Behind the Scenes
CALA Festival Mini-Documentary

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