Latina

In ‘El Muerto Vagabundo,’ many worlds collide

Milagro's Dia de Muertos play has plenty to offer seasonally, spiritually, and sociopolitically

If you wander into Milagro Theatre’s El Muerto Vagabundo, what will you see? A world premiere of a seasonally themed story about homeless people both living and dead. A split narrative performed in both Spanish and English (with some of the best jokes delivered only in the latter).

You’ll watch The Kid (Diego Delascio), a recently orphaned young Mexican-American boy who hopes to contact his parents by observing Dia de Muertos, and his cynical older sister (Mariel Sierra), a social worker who serves many homeless clients, follow a mysterious (for lack of a better term) hobo clown into an “underworld,” a homeless camp under a bridge that doubles as a gateway between the dead and the living. From there, you’ll be treated to what amounts to a series of monologues from archetypes of the homeless condition, with a smorgasbord of stagecraft, a few surprising plot twists, and a feelgood, spookily sentimental finish.

Themes of celebration and mortality share the stage as two "dead" characters entertain the living. L to R: Geo Alva, Carrie Anne Huneycutt, Carlos Manzano, Patricia Alvítez, Juliet Maya Buri and Robi Arce

Themes of celebration and mortality share abound as two “dead” characters entertain the living. L to R: Geo Alva, Carrie Anne Huneycutt, Carlos Manzano, Patricia Alvítez, Juliet Maya Buri, Robi Arce. Photo: Russell J Young

That experience alone is enough—but it’s not all there is. Those who follow Portland theater will appreciate several more contexts in which this particular play could be viewed.

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