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Drug-War Drama Debuts in Hollywood

Controversial LA play puts a spin on our bloody narco-war with Mexico.

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Mario Montana Mora rehearses for
"Timboctou" Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

03/09/12

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A hotly-anticipated bilingual play aims to give audiences a different perceptive on the Mexican drug war. Timboctou—a dark comedy that premiers Sunday at LA‘s REDCAT theater—skewers ruthless drug lords, oblivious US consumers and the Mexican narco-terrorism that has claimed 40,000 Mexican lives since 2006. “I believe it's a question of bi-national responsibility," says director Martín Acosta. "I don't think the play analyzes who is responsible. But it assumes there's a very direct link, looking from the Mexican side." The play, written by 27-year-old Mexican playwright Alejandro Ricaño, joins many Spanish language media programs—and even a dedicated music genre called "narcocorridos" (drug-themed songs)—in encouraging people to view the drug war as a product of greed and addiction, rather than simply the fault of Mexico and Latin America. It was co-developed by the University of Guadalajara and the CalArts Center for New Performance. “It's easy to blame the Mexicans. I don't ever see the other side, the people who are taking all these drugs, which is us," says Andrew Steele, who wrote the screenplay for Casa de Mi Padre, a similar Spanish-language satire produced by Will Ferrell. "It's absurd to me that anyone could blame other people for their own weakness...What's happening is a bunch of crazy people are doing drugs and not realizing people are getting killed over there." 

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