• International Playwright Hugo Salcedo Visits College


Award-winning playwright, poet, essayist, critic, and theatre director Hugo Salcedo visited the College of Arts & Sciences as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar from March 3-14, 2008.

Salcedo, of the border city Tijuana, Mexico, is a professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. With the assistance of student translators, he spoke in numerous classes during his Suffolk visit, including Spanish, History of Globalization and Empire, Environmental History of Latin America, World Literature in English, Art and Literature in Latin America, Globalization of Media and Telecommunications, and Iani Moreno’s Latin American Theater and Society class.

A dramatic reading

Professor Moreno’s class studied the playwright’s most famous play, El viaje de los cantors/The Crossing, which earned Salcedo the “Tirso de Molina” for the best Spanish language play of the year.

Students gave a dramatic public reading of the play on March 11, 2008 at the C. Walsh Theatre, directed by alumna Colleen Rua. Students Alisa Cherkasova, Katiuska Cruz, Adrienne Fitzgerald, Margery Furman, Caitlin Greco, Steve McCreary, Kathleen Pena, Robert Terrero, Stanley Thermora and English professor Jeremy Solomons acted out the tragic story of 18 Mexicans trying to cross the U.S. border illegally only to meet with their death trapped in a railroad boxcar.

Slides playing behind the actors on stage showed scenes of the border dangers: a barbed wire fence, a U.S. border patrol officer with rifle, a helicopter’s searchlights, a scorpion, a human skull in the desert, a map of the Mexico-U.S. border, a collection of crosses, a church.

Public lecture in Spanish

Following the performance, Salcedo gave a talk, “Manifestaciones políticas en algunos pasajes de la literatura dramática de México/Political Signs Observed in Some Passages of Mexican Literary Dramaturgy,” translated by students Yanitza Medina and Karen Hernandez.

“Mexican theater has many pages still to write about the new faces of violence, drug cartels, kidnappings, and extortions,” said Salcedo. “I reaffirm the phrase: “There is something rotten in the national politics of Mexico” because never before did dramatic literature have so many ideas to write.  Never before did the act of staring at an empty computer screen have the possibility of writing topics of utmost occurrence.  Other playwrights did it and new ones will continue doing it.”  


An internationally acclaimed playwright

Salcedo won the Premio Punto de Partida given by UNAM (The National Autonomous University of Mexico) for his plays, San Juan de Dios/Saint John of God (1986) and El viaje de los cantores/The Crossing (1989).

He has written more than 40 plays that have been published and performed in the U.S., Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Venezuela. Other awarded plays include: La Bufadora; Estrella del norte/North Star; Arde el desierto con los vientos que vienen del sur/The Prevailing Southern Winds are Making the Desert Burn; and Selena la reina del tex-mex/Selena the Queen of Tex-Mex.

Salcedo won the Premio Nacional de Teatro para los Niños (National Children’s Dramaturgy Prize) for his play Juaneet y Picadillo and the prize given by Jornadas de los Niños por la Paz (Children’s Theatre Conference on Peace) for Una rana croa/A Frog Croaks. In November 2000, Salcedo became a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, awarded to the best artists in Mexico.

Distinguished Visiting Scholars

Salcedo’s visit is the fourth in the 2008 line-up of Distinguished Visiting Scholars at the College of Arts & Sciences, a program launched in 2005 to bring nationally and internationally renowned scholars, artists, and intellectuals to the Boston campus for stays ranging from one week to a month.

Suffolk’s Distinguished Visiting Scholars contribute to the creative and intellectual vitality of the entire University by teaching courses, leading workshops and roundtables, and delivering public lectures. The scholars also have numerous informal opportunities to interact, consult, and collaborate with members of the Suffolk community during their residency.

Additional information about the program, as well as the schedule of speakers for spring 2008, is available online, at http://www.suffolk.edu/college/385.html.

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