)¡ pos órale !( music W r i t i n g
Highlight three sentences or words in the passage, closely analyze on each of them. Each of the comments should be around 100-200 words.
Passage from Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit (1978)
The giant facsimile of a newspaper front page serves as a drop curtain.
The huge masthead reads: LOS ANGELES HERALD EXPRESS, Thursday June 3, 1943.
A headline cries out: ZOOT-SUITER HORDES INVADE LOS ANGELES. US NAVY AND MARINES ARE CALLED IN.
Behind this are black drapes creating a place of haunting shadows larger than life. The somber shapes and outlines of pachuco fabric evoking memories and feelings like an old suit hanging forgotten in the depths of a closet somewhere, sometime . . . Below this is a sweeping, curving place of levels and rounded corners with the hard, ingrained brilliance of countless spit shines, like the memory of a dance hall.
A switchblade plunges through the newspaper. It slowly cuts a rip to the bottom of the drop. To the sounds of “Perdido” by Duke Ellington, EL PACHUCO emerges from the slit. HE adjusts his clothing, meticulously fussing with his collar, suspenders, cuffs. HE tends to his hair, combing back every strand into a long luxurious ducktail, with infinite loving pains. Then HE reaches into the slip and pulls out his coat and hat. HE dons them. His fantastic costume is complete. It is a zoot suit. HE is transformed into the very image of the pachuco myth, from his hat to the tip of his four-foot watch chain. Now HE turns to the audience. His three-soled shoes with metal taps click-clack as HE proudly [. . . ] defiantly makes his way downstage. HE stops and assumes a pachuco stance.
¿Que le watcha a mis trapos, ese?
¿Sabe qué, carnal?
Estas garras me las planté porque
Vamos a dejarnos caer un play, ¿sabe?
(HE crosses to center stage, models his clothes.)
Watcha mi tacuche, ese. Aliviánse con mis calcos, tando [. . .]
Nel, sabe qué, usted está muy verdolaga. Como se me hace
que es puro square.
(EL PACHUCO breaks character and addresses the audience in perfect English.)
Ladies and gentleman
the play you are about to see
is a construct of fact and fantasy.
The Pachuco Style was an act in Life
and his language a new creation.
His will to be was an awesome force
eluding all documentation. . .
A mythical, quizzical, frightening being
precursor of revolution
Or a piteous, hideous heroic joke
Deserving of absolution?
I speak as an actor on the stage.
The Pachuco was existential
For he was an Actor in the streets
both profane and reverential [. . .]
(Puts hat back on and turns.)
(Music. The newspaper drop flies. EL PACHUCO begins his chuco stroll upstage, swinging his watch chain.)
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