?Tamales de Puerco? is one of a kind

Alexander Viray

It’s not too common to see a play performed in two different languages. But when a play incorporates three different languages in steady dialogue it becomes more than just a play. It becomes a unique experience. The play ‘Tamales de Puerco’ premiered on the CSUN campus this past weekend.

The trilingual play incorporated English, Spanish and American Sign Language. Creating a play that blends the use of three languages is not easy, but ‘Tamales de Puerco’ does it with comprehensible dialogue and creative new ideas. Translations in English and Spanish were projected above the stage to help audience members who were not familiar with any of the three languages.

‘Tamales de Puerco’ is about a mother of a deaf son who is in an abusive marriage. She also has a drinking problem and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Many of the people in her life shun her son for being deaf, even her own mother and husband. They call her son ‘sick’ and ‘mute.’ She eventually flees from her abusive relationship and makes a living selling her homemade tamales, all while trying to give her son the best life she possibly can.

‘It was cute. I liked the integration of the three languages. I didn’t realize the struggles parents have with deaf kids,’ said audience member Michelle Montoya.

Plays, which are primarily focused on both the verbal performances as well as the physical performances, made ‘Tamales de Puerco’ all more interesting to be a part of. The scenes that used sign language forced audience members not familiar with sign language to watch the projected translations. Though it took away from the performances at times, it made the play very united. It opened up minds to how much people who are deaf are excluded from watching a performance when they must be fixated on an interpreter.

The true meaning behind ‘Tamales de Puerco,’ while being very entertaining, is to put into perspective that people who are deaf or hard of hearing aren’t any different than a person who doesn’t have a hearing impairment. It promoted equality among all individuals while conveying it in a funny and enjoyable package.

The trilingual aspect of ‘Tamales de Puerco’ opened the doors to how plays can be written and also broadened the spectrum of culture incorporation. It was an extremely cohesive play that didn’t support one language over any others. The message was great and appealed to everyone in attendance, no matter which background one came from.
‘The performance was really good. It’s delightful to go see a play where culture is expressed through languages that I am familiar with,’ said interpreter Adriana Mendoza.