|The San Patricios is a play of historical significance that has been waiting to be told. It looks inside the Mexican-American War and reveals traitors, deserters, and heroic fighters – who are all one in the same.
This world premiere by José Cruz González with music by Daniel Valdez plays in the Marian Theatre July 31 – August 17, then under the stars In the Solvang Festival Theater August 28 through September 7.
|It’s 1846. America’s plans to conquer the west under the call of Manifest Destiny helped provoke the largely unpopular Mexican-American war from which there was rampant desertion.
One small group of deserters was to be made an example. Tracked down and court martialed, 30 were found guilty as traitors and were publically hanged in a circus-like display. These were the San Patricios or Saint Patricks. This group of Irish immigrants – who fled the famine in their homeland and were quickly enlisted when they set foot on American soil – soon discovered they had left one bad situation for another. Considered second-class citizens suffering hostility, injustice, brutality, and hunger, they questioned why they were fighting against the Mexicans, a people who shared similar religious beliefs. With offers of large land grants, high wages, and religious freedom, they crossed the lines and took aim on the American Army as a highly skilled armory battalion.
This world premiere gives us a glimpse into America’s past largely overlooked by history books. Playwright José Cruz Gonzáles says what resonates for him are these immigrants who’ve come from a foreign country to a new country to make it their home and suddenly realize this isn’t their home. “They risk their lives to save this other nation, and there’s something heroic about that. Who knows, maybe misguided. But there’s a few hundred folk that made this big decision that could possibly cost them their lives.” Gonzáles added that the notion of cultures colliding or fusing together is also an intriguing theme that continues to arise in this story.
Director Mark Booher said, “The story of these people, the real people who were engaged in this significant era of our national and international history, has been really inspiring to me. It’s moral and political complexities – the stories of personal sacrifice, greed, valor, cruelty, desperation, faith, despotism – make it a really sobering and inspiring story to work on.”
The cast includes Erik Stein* as Ringmaster, Leo Cortez as Santa Anna, Megan C.C. Walker as Mary Casey, Paul Henry as Matthew, Anna Lamadrid as Ofelia, Kevin Rico Angulo as Juan, Elizabeth Stuart* as Don Escutia/Caitlin, Jim Goza as Samuel, Mike Fiore as Joseph, Nik Johnson as Liam, Sean Peters as Georgie, and Jeff Salsbury as John Riley.
The creative team, under the direction of Mr. Booher, includes Musical Director Matthew R. Meckes, Scenic Designer Dave Nofsinger, costume designer Pamela Shaw, Lighting Designer Jennifer ‘Z’ Zornow, Sound Designer Chuck Hatcher, and Production Stage Manager Suzanne Tyler*