REVIEW: Mendoza by Los Colochos Teatro México

By Daniel Mendoza

“There’s a chicken in the front row.” That was the first thought I had when I walked into the Goodman Theatre’s arena-like stage Tuesday night. At first glance at the description, you think that Mendoza will be another retelling of Shakespeare’s famed Scottish play, but the second the show begins you realize it is much more than that.

Mendoza, by Antonio Zuniga and Juan Carrillo and performed by Los Colochos Teatro, is currently being presented at the Goodman Theatre in collaboration with the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance as a part of Destinos, the 2nd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. The play is performed in Spanish, but there are easy to follow supertitles for those less fluent in the language.

Mendoza’s energy begins from the moment you step into the empty, intimate black box theatre. As I walked in I noticed there were some folks seated already, most notably, a witch. Sitting in the center of my row was a woman wearing a mask, draped on her shoulder is a white veil so long it stretches to center stage and sitting on her lap is a very live hen, and the show hasn’t even started yet.

As far as the story goes, it is a re-imagining of Macbeth. However, the playwright’s use of corridos (a narrative ballad in a traditional Mexican style), the setting of the Mexican Revolution, and of course blood, Los Colochos’ Mendoza takes an energy of its own.

With the truly minimalist set that incorporates some fortunate members of the audience, so much so they spent time making sure the front row was filled, and with incredible performances by the entire cast, Mendoza will have you wondering what truly is the weight of murder, as well as looking out for any witches that might fuel your ambition to disastrous heights this October.

Although the run for this performance is over, we’re hoping it will return for those who didn’t have the opportunity to see it in all its glory. In the meantime, make sure to check out more of the programming happening through November as part of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance and #DestinosFest.