A play directed and produced by University of New Mexico alumna Cecilia “Cici” Aragón, along with co-producer Patrick Konesko, is the first of its kind to focus on New Mexican Chicano/a author, Rudolfo Anaya.
“Upholding the role of a cultural scribe, Anaya faced many transformations, so this play will speak powerfully to Latinos and those who know Anaya’s work,” Aragón said. “But it will resonate just as much with others—these pivotal moments in Anaya’s life are at the core of human experience.”
Anaya has a long history in New Mexico. His family worked in rural areas of the state as sheepherders, cattle workers, and farmers. Much of his work reflects his upbringing. His groundbreaking novels, children’s books, poetry, plays, and non-fiction works has had a significant influence on Chicano/a literature since the 1970s.
The play, titled “Bless Me, Coatlicue” tracks Anaya’s life from the 1960s through his passing in 2020. The play’s focus is Anaya’s “la curandera,” or spiritual healer, a prominent figure in his most acclaimed work, “Bless Me, Ultima.” It also explores Anaya’s family relationships and issues Chicano/a writers faced during his time, including personal integrity, community building, lost indigenous history, and the lure of commercialism in the publishing industry.
The production was held at the University of Wyoming on Feb.11-12. Aragón received her MFA from The University of New Mexico and is now a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance and Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. In addition, she is a faculty afiliate in Native American and Indigenous Studies and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs UNM. She also serves as the executive director of the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference. Her research explores the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality with Indigenous performance artists and Danza Azteca in Latina/o performances.
Images by Jed Cabrera.