directed by Isael Almanza
written by Maye Moreno
dramaturgy Luis Eduardo Yee
with Erandeni Durán, Mireya González, Patricia Hernández, Gloria Castro, Alfredo Monsivais
video and interview edition Jeronimo Barriga
“Narcisa”, poem by Maye Moreno, “Teca huiini sicarú” Zapotec song Mireya González
scenography, costume and light designer Natalia Sedano
general production Denise Anzures
direction assistant Verónica Ramos
cultural promotion and press Denise Anzures
photography Isael Almanza, Ricardo Trejo
design and production of digital material Gloria Castro

production Colectivo Escénico el Arce
Winner oh the Penitentiary Theater National Contest 2014

lenght 1 hour
national première
in Spanish with English subtitles

Theatre is coming with more frequency into an evolution tunnel marked by an interest in integrating different disciplines and creating new scenic experiences. This is the case of Casa Calabaza,
born from the need for enquiring into the territories of the marginalization trough the penitentiary dramaturgy. With Casa Calabaza, the director Isael Almanza tries to delve into the traffic of emotions enclosed in the house from which the author narrates, to tell how the family broke down until murder. The mis-en- scène reflects a harsh social reality, such as the disintegration of the family core, and demystifies the social prejudice that men and women in reclusion suffer from.
Casa Calabaza seeks for another way of experiencing and feeling the theatrical experience. A first class playwright, Maye Moreno, inmate at the Santa Marta Acatitla Prison, and a director, Isael Almanza, allow these series of quests that constitute a universe with no rhetoric or pyrotechnics.
Casa Calabaza is a mis-en- scène that you won’t remain indifferent to.

Casa Calabaza is a play written by María Elena Moreno Márquez, also known as Maye, a woman doing time for the 28 years sentence she has been convicted to at the Santa María Acatitla Prison. This is an autobiographic work in which the author narrates her life from her childhood to the moment in which she is taken by the authorities after having committed matricide. In the play four Mayes will be introduced, dislocated in different times but in constant conflict, and we will witness how her lifetime marked the tragic end.

From more than 25 years, the National Program of Penitentiary Theatre has worked as a incentive compensation program that encourages theatrical production, supported by the Secretaría de Gobernación as well as the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and addressed to the whole penitentiary population in the country. Throughout more than two decades, inmates have produced hundreds of dramatic texts. However, this is the first time in history that one of these plays has been taken to a professional and independent stage in Mexico City. The Casa Calabaza mis-en-scène took place at an artistic-journalistic research laboratory from the history of the penitentiary theatre and the research and enquire of the dramatic texts written by inmates in several states of the Mexican Republic.

My work as director has been based in the direct enquiry between story and characters-actors whom which I have worked in the stagings: Las Bodas by Luisa Josefina Hernández, Confesión by Rodolfo Guillen, Looper by Verónica Maldonado and Heimweh by Myriam Orva.
The research and the personal poetics in which I constantly work on are based on the self, on the biography of the dramatist or the biography of the performers and makers, accomplishing an exposition of personal elements. Therefore, “relato testimonial de Casa Calabaza [Casa Calabaza testimonial account]” is a riddle as well as an equation in order to suggest this creative search, enquiring in the personal elements and putting them into a dialogue within the fiction, in a manner that the intimate story will be unified with the dramatic story.
For Casa Calabaza I suggest other theatrical mechanisms, such as the coexistence with the spectator as testimonial and narrative axis that dialogue with the fiction. The project comes from the playwright María Elena Moreno Márquez, also known as Maye Moreno, inmate at the Femenil Santa Martha Acatitla Prison, and it fully respects her dramaturgy as story and account.
This mis-en-scènes is part of a topic in which I am piercing those experiences and those lost memories and how people relate with it or how do I relate with them.

Isael Almanza

Download the booklet

Isael Almanza, biography

Isael Almanza

Mexico City. 1985. Actor and director, currently a teaching assistant at the Staging Laboratory with for the Dramatic Literature and Theatre Bachelors program at the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, UNAM. Graduate from the Escuela Nacional de Arte Teatral (2006-2009), where he learnt from Ricardo Ramírez Carnero, Angelina Peláez, Israel Martínez, Verónica Maldonado, Mauricio Jiménez and Martín Acosta, among others. His academic training comes as well from the Cedart Frida Kahlo (2000-2003) and the Universidad Veracruzana (2005-2006). He has participated in workshops with Ximena Escalante, Cipriano Arguello Pitt (Argentina), Alberto Villareal and Mayra Sérbulo. On the University level he has been awarded with distinctions for different plays, such as Tricipro (2009), Cucarachas (2009) and Confesión (2013), staging awarded for best theatre aggrupation and best female performance.
He has worked with directors such as Guillermo León, Mauricio Jiménez and Martín Acosta. With Ignacio Escárcega, at the stagings El Camino de Sinsol (2010-2011) by Camila Villegas, Tutoriales (2012-2013) by Verónica Maldonado, Afterplay (2012-2013) and El Juego de Yalta (2014-2015) by Brian Friel. He has also worked on Pie de Monte on the theaterwelt season organized by the Goethe Institut and the Coordinación Nacional de Teatro (2014). Almanza has participated as well with the training and direction assistance for Alejandro Licona’s La Amenaza Roja, directed by Ignacio Escárcega for the UNAM’S carro de comedias (2014-2015).
As a director, his first night arrived on January 2012 with the play Confesión by Rodolfo Guillén. After this, he directed LOOPER (2013) by Verónica Maldonado at the Sala CCB of the Centro Cultural del Bosque and the Teatro de la Casa del Lago in Xalapa, Veracruz; Las Bodas (2013) by Luisa Josefina Hernández and in collaboration with the companies Teatro de Aire and Idiotas Teatro, at a residence in La Capilla Theatre; Heimweh-estaciones (2014) by Myriam Orva, with two seasons at La Capilla Theatre; FIESTA, by Myriam Orva (2017); Ma/Pa, geografía intersexual by Alberto Castillo, presented in BESO, diverse theatre season at la Teatrería.
On 2014, Almanza was invited to collaborate as a jury for the FITU UNAM for category B and in 2015 for category A, as well as for the National Penitentiary Theatre Contest in 2014. He currently develops the scenic research Recuerdos con pérdida de memoria, based on the acting biography and the irruption of reality en scène. In addition to this, he is working with the penitentiary theatre project named Casa Calabaza, by Maye Moreno, inmate at the Santa Martha Acatitla Prison, winner of the Penitentiary Theatre Dramaturgy Award in 2014-2015 as well as the award for Best Penitentiary Theatre Play, conceded by the Asosiación de Críticos y Periodistas del Teatro in 2016, and becoming one of the most relevant stagings in that year.
Isael Almanza is an active member of the El Arce Colectivo Escénico.