Bay Area theater troupe Cascada de Flores will provide an interactive bilingual musical experience that introduces audiences to Mexican fable El Abuelo at the Lodi Public Library.
Cascada de Flores brings to life the harmonious and symbiotic relationship of traditional Mexican songs and classic Latin American instruments, in a simple and beautiful arrangement that revives the cultural fanfare.
Through performances led by the vocal styling of Arwen Lawrence, the troupe provides a performance that enchants audience members through their youthful storytelling and audacious fable that examines life and death.
The play “El Abuelo” — also known as “The tree and the donkey who loved to sing” — follows an old man (the grandfather), a rotting tree and an unhealthy donkey. Each character in the story is plagued by loneliness and finds friendship in one another through music, until one day the donkey dies.
Following the death of the donkey, both the old man and the tree are confronted by the staunch inevitability of death. Rather than dwell on the somber reality, the old man fashions the donkey’s jawbone into an instrument and the three friends reunite through song once again.
As nature takes its course and all the characters pass on, their music is inherited by other animals who preserve the music.
“Besides being funny, engaging, and very participatory, this story touches on a large variety of themes, all inspired by the natural curiosity of children,” Lawrence said.
As the narrator of the story, Lawrence leads children in a musical call and response. As she interacts with the various characters Lawrence alternates between English and Spanish.
“The interchange of the two worlds is important for us to tell the story. It allows us two bring together truths that are mistold,” Lawrence said.
Through the whimsy of animal characters and old man’s humor, the troupe weaves in information about Mexican diversity — particularly indigenous, Spanish, and African roots — while celebrating the rich culture woven together through each unique society.
“The story allows for both improvisation and pure expression, while also diving into the multi-dimensional layers of the story that tackles identity, culture, and history,” Lawrence said.
The group will bring an assortment of instruments for children to use and enjoy. Many of the instruments will be classic string and percussion instruments used in mariachi music.
Cascada de Flores will be performing at the Lodi Public Library at 201 W. Locust St. on July 3 at 4 p.m. This event is a free event offered to the community. For information about the show visit the library’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ LodiPublicLibrary/.