Celebrating the Day of the Dead with ‘Alebrijes’

UTEP%E2%80%99s+Department+of+Theatre+and+Dance+arranged+the+play+ALEBRIJES+A+Bilingual+Day+of+the+Dead+Show%2C+a+free+show+that+took+place+in+the+Desert+Garden+Amphitheater+Oct.+28-Nov.+2.++

Annabella Mireles

UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance arranged the play ALEBRIJES A Bilingual Day of the Dead Show, a free show that took place in the Desert Garden Amphitheater Oct. 28-Nov. 2.

Alyson Rodriguez, Contributor

Bright colors and culture filled the cool fall nights with the showing of “Alebrijes” at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens Amphitheater. The bilingual Day of the Dead play was written and directed by Georgina Hernandez Escobar. UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance production was presented at 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 with free admission to the public. The small theatre was packed full of fans looking for a fun event to celebrate the Day of the Dead. 

Day of the Death is traditionally celebrated Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 in the Mexican culture to commemorate lost loved ones and is celebrated through many traditions. Some of these traditions include making ofrendas in honor of lost loved ones and filling it with marigolds, favorite foods, sugar skulls, and pictures.  

Escobar is a native of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and has worked at UTEP since 2019 as an assistant professor of instruction for UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She is also a playwright based in Manhattan and has written and produced dozens of plays. Escobar has also received several awards, including the Kennedy Center National Award for her play Ash Tree in 2010.  

Escobar focused her “Alebrijes” play on the life and near-death of Mexican artist Pedro Linares, the creator of alebrijes. Escobar’s play is a reimagined version of Linares’ life and is a 90-minute comedy. 

The play “Alebrijes” is a story celebrating life, death and the traditions of Dia de los Muertos. The story centers around the main character Pedro, an artist who creates art for Dia de los Muertos with his brother Manuel. One day Manuel says he’s going on a trip to find better opportunities, but sadly dies on his journey. Pedro can’t believe his brother is gone and tries to make a deal with La Santa Muerte herself to get him back. He then embarks on a journey through the land of the dead with his three best friends, who are a chicken, rooster and cat to find Santa Muerte. In the end, he ends up losing to her, and she takes his animals and makes them her totems and he does not get his brother back. Santa Muerte encourages Pedro to go back to the land of the living and look forward to the future. Pedro then returns from the land of the dead and lives happily ever after with the love of his life, keeping his friends and brother in his memory. To keep their memories alive, he creates an art project of his three animal friends mixed together and calls it an Alebrije.  

“This was a wonderful way to spend Dia de los Muertos, I loved the music, acting and the costumes. The play was a very beautiful way to commemorate passed loved ones on this special day,” said Rosa Celis, a UTEP alumna and attendee for the play. 

This story encompassed a beautiful message of how our loved ones are never truly gone after they pass away. They stay in our hearts forever, as long as we honor their memory. The story also taught the audience how you can’t focus on the past, you should focus on the future instead and look forward to it. Because that’s what our fallen loved ones would want us to do.  

Alyson Rodriguez is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127.