Hispanic Heritage Month gets underway at Northwest Vista College

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David Rodriguez, counseling coordinator at this college, plays guitar in a scene from a play "La Luz de San Anto". "La Luz De San Anto" kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month Wednesday Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Black Box Theater at NorthWest Vista. The play was co-written by Rodriguez and his wife Mellissa Marlowe, theatre coordinator at Northwest Vista, also staring co-actor Salvador Valadez, drama coordinator. The play is a love story about social issues of interracial couples, gender roles and the complications of love. Photo by L. Hillary Melton.

David Rodriguez, counseling coordinator at this college, plays guitar in a scene from a play “La Luz de San Anto”. “La Luz De San Anto” kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month Wednesday Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Black Box Theater at NorthWest Vista. The play was co-written by Rodriguez and his wife Mellissa Marlowe, theatre coordinator at Northwest Vista, also staring co-actor Salvador Valadez, drama coordinator. The play is a love story about social issues of interracial couples, gender roles and the complications of love. Photo by L. Hillary Melton.

Stage production of “La Luz de San Anto”

By Giselle Guadron

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Before there were community centers, the people of San Antonio would gather at icehouses.

A new play co-written by the counselor coordinator here celebrates that history in a musical love story.

A free performance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 24 in Loftin Student Center.

Each icehouse was a bit different depending on the type of food they served, but all had some things in common

Icehouses were where people would get together to socialize, kids would play and they all had jukeboxes.

They have been part of many San Antonio residents’ lives.

“Icehouses are what Starbucks are now. There use to be one on almost every block,” said Dr. David Rodriguez.

Last week, Northwest Vista College began its Raza Heritage Events tying them with the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

The Black Box Theater presented a performance of “La Luz de San Anto.” It was first performed at Luminaria 2014.

Rodriguez, lead singer, and wife Mellissa Marlowe, Northwest Vista drama coordinator, collaborated on the play.

The story takes place in La Luz, a San Antonio icehouse, where Sal, played by Salvador Valadez, Driscoll Middle School drama teacher, and Allie, played by Marlowe, meet and fall in love and encounter the challenges that cross-cultural couples can face.

When Sal is left reflecting on his feelings, he asks the proprietor of the icehouse, Gil, to play the jukebox. Gil is performed by Eli Rios, who wrote and directed “Conejo de Campos.”

A live five-piece band stands in for the jukebox music used throughout. There is a variation of music and songs that represent what the characters are experiencing, a variation of what is known as the “San Antonio sound.”

Marlowe, a romantic at heart, said there is a little bit of her and her husband’s love story in the play.

The play is, “about the music and the cultural differences of the characters” she said.

“It has been a really great experience to work with Mellissa and David and see the piece they wrote and how it’s been expanded,” Valadez said. “I hope to see it grow and do some more acting.”

The actors were grateful for the grant they received from the city of San Antonio’s Department for Culture & Creative Development.

With the arts growing in San Antonio, Marlowe is excited to see what the future may bring.

“Luminaria encourages collaboration among the disciplines,” she said.

Once the performance has wrapped, Marlowe hopes that the audience members “take an appreciation for the music.”

She said of San Antonio today, “There are still cultural differences, but we need to close that gap.”

Rios will be playing the part of Sal during the performance at this college as Valadez will not be able to leave his classroom.

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