Nostalgia….’Our Lady of the Tortilla’

Our Lady of the Tortilla
Our Lady of the Tortilla

Recently one of my writer friends asked me about ‘Our Lady of the Tortilla‘ by Luis Santeiro. Directed by yours truly in 2003-2004 season at the Harbor Playhouse, Corpus Christi, Texas. It got back to  me that the well established directors said, with a sneer, that they didn’t want to direct ‘that little Mexican play’. Since I was new to the area, and trying to establish myself at Harbor, I jumped at the chance to direct anything.

That little Mexican play’ sold out every weekend.   It was heartwarming to see new faces (in  the Harbor Playhouse audience) including Catholic priests, nuns, and Hispanics who needed an interpreter.  It brought in

Where? I don't see 'our lady'
Where? I don’t see ‘our lady’

the Hispanic community in droves; many who had not ever seen a live play. It was so successful that the Board brought it back, as an encore, the following season.

It’s an outrageous comedy. The set had a full working kitchen with running water and cooking stove top so that Dolores, who ran a Mexican catering service out of her home, could mix up and cook tortillas during the play. One day she saw ‘our lady’ the Virgin Mary in her tortilla.  The family around her was hilarious with a flamboyant sister, two sons, one of which had come home with a gringa girlfriend.  The audience never sees her; only hears her from the van parked in the driveway (off-stage).  Too funny!
Tortilla.#3r.ScanAs the director, [and since we were in southeast Texas],  wherever I could (where language didn’t matter) I had my Hispanic cast change the lines to Spanish. (for example Dolores and her sister, Dahlia, would fight in Spanish).

At the cast party, cast and crew presented me with this plaque, giving me the title of ‘Honorary Mexican’, which I  treasure to this day!! Cast.Tortilla


Dahlia, the wild sister
Dahlia, the wild sister

PS. The framed ‘mirror’ hung at the edge of the stage so the audience could see Dahlia preen.  There was no mirror/glass and it takes a brilliant actor to pretend that they

see their own reflection.



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3 thoughts on “Nostalgia….’Our Lady of the Tortilla’”

  1. We’re thinking of this show for our season, next year. Our school is 75% Latinx, mostly Mexican. Did you see any problems with the family of characters being Cuban and your actors being Mexican?

    1. I am not the playwright….I was the director. But I had the same question and contacted the playwright, Luis at, (he is very accessible) . I did the show
      in Texas and I wanted to change to the Mexican culture. He readily gave me permission. And no problems with the transition.
      Also check out my short play (I am the playwright) Black vs. White vs. Brown (great for teens)
      Good luck! Luis’ play is a wonderful take on family, faith, and fun!

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