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Award-winning Mexican playwright brings works to campus

Nov. 17, 1999

By CHRISTI HORN

reporter

Alejandro Roman, an award-winning Mexican playwright and theater director, will perform two dramatic works about prehistoric Mexico at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.

Roman is the director of theater and arts for promotion of language acquisition at the Spanish Communication Institute (SpanCom) in Tepoztlan, Mexico. According to Steven Johnson, general business manager of SpanCom, this title means that Roman uses drama to help people learn to speak Spanish. Roman began his job at SpanCom in April. Aside from writing and directing plays such as Escape, Rigor Mortis and Bloody Mary, he has also conducted a theater program for children with Downs Syndrome and worked with a government program for children from low-income families.

Roman wrote the two dramatic works he will perform at Baylor, Reflexiones de Quetzalcoatl and La Conquista. He used ancient text to design these plays, he says. Reflexiones de Quetzalcoatl is about the ancient prehispanic narrations of creating the world.

'This is a story that would be like the story of Genesis in the Bible,' Johnson said.

La Conquista is about the fall of the Aztec Empire through the words and thoughts of Moctezuma, the last Aztec emperor. The dialogue of the play is taken from two Aztec poets, Nezahuatlcoytl and Hector Mendoza. The pattern of betrayal and exploitation that has marked Mexican history is also expressed in this play. Aside from Roman, the play will star Ashley Burns, a Westminster, Colo., sophomore.

Burns spent one month in Mexico last summer studying at SpanCom. During her trip, she worked with Roman and was able to see many theater productions and works of art.

'It is fun to see culture and language barriers broken through art and expression. It helps me find enjoyment in learning a language, and I am able to translate through theater.' Burns said.

Roman said the purpose of these plays is for students to gain an understanding of the people that make up today's ancient Mexico and to show the relationship of pre-Hispanic culture to the culture of today.

'I want students to gain exposure to Mexican culture as well as the ancient Mayan culture,' Roman said.

This is Roman's first visit to Baylor, and he looks forward to the experience.

'I am very excited to come. I have heard there is a very good theater department there. I have heard nothing but good things about Baylor University,' Roman said.