The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa (1999)

Postcard: The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa Postcard: The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa

The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa is the first full-length play written by El Teatro Campesino's Luis Valdez, penned in 1964. A raucous absurdist comedy about Mexican-Americans on the verge of the Chicano Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the play sends up racist stereotypes still deeply entrenched in the 1950s, including the wino father, the long suffering mother, the juvenile delinquent son, the pregnant/unwed daughter, the indigent older brother, the shell-shocked son home from the war, and the whole family on welfare. To complete his assault on prejudicial images, Valdez throws in ubiquitous head lice and giant "cucarachas" (cockroaches). But the capper is the character of the totally dependent oldest son, Belarmino (Belo), whose physical handicap is extreme: he has no body. Belo is a bodiless head, who cannot even talk, except to sing "La Cucaracha," with a vengeance. Crawling with lice, drooling and grunting, Belo's gargantuan appetite keeps his family broke, until brother Mingo comes home from the army determined to change things. That's when the head begins to talk.


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Additional Info

  • Title: The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 01:45:21
  • Language: English, Spanish, Spanglish
  • Date: 1999
  • Location: San Juan Bautista, California.
  • Type-Format: play, performance, community theater
  • Cast: Berta Desidero, Cesar Flores, Seth Millwood, Lakin Valdez, Adela Ruiz, Anahuac Valdez, Josh Sanchez, Jeff Mirrione.
  • Credits: El Teatro Campesino, producer; Kinan Valdez, director; Luis Valdez, writer.

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