Movie still from ‘Bless Me, Ultima.’ Courtesy/rogerebert.com
Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya’s dramatization of his acclaimed novel, returns to the National Hispanic Cultural Center as the seventh production in the NHCC’s ongoing Siembra: Latino Theatre Festival.
Performances run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday April 16-19 and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Albuquerque Journal Theatre. Tickets are $17, $22, and $27, with a $5 discount for students and seniors, and are available from the NHCC Box Office, at 505.724.4771 or www.nhccnm.org.
Bless Me, Ultima, probably the most famous work ever written in New Mexico and required reading for generations of New Mexicans, is set in rural New Mexico at the end of World War II. It is the story of a boy growing up in the midst of family crisis, violence, and magic, and trying to make sense of the world around him.
From his first meeting with the mysterious Ultima, a curandera who comes to live with his family, Tony turns to her for advice, and as his enlightenment progresses, he learns to confront his fears, accept the differences within his community, and seek his own destiny. A classic coming-of-age story, addressing universal themes, Bless Me, Ultima was one of the first works to bring Latino literature into the popular consciousness and secure Anaya’s place as the “godfather of Chicano literature.”
The initial production of Bless Me, Ultima in 2010 was an historic event in New Mexico’s cultural history, with a successful tour through the state and sold-out performances in eight cities. It is presented once again in partnership with the Vortex Theatre, and revived by its original director, Valli Rivera, with new staging designs and music.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts, and humanities, and is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Vortex Theatre is Albuquerque’s oldest, continuously producing black-box theatre, with a new home at 2900 Carlisle NE and an extensive history of producing Rudolfo Anaya’s plays at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and on tour throughout New Mexico.