Lovers of stage plays throughout Hidalgo County will enjoy a rare experience in November, when the City of Pharr plans four nights of a historical drama.
“A Pharr Tale” opens at the Historic Texas Theater in downtown Pharr on Nov. 6.
Look for an advance review in this space in late October. This reviewer awaits eagerly, because this show is unique, and promises to be worth the 100-year wait. Pharr has planned it well.
Read these quotes, then phone the Theater Box Office at 956-783-7746 for ticket information.
“I am lucky to have a talented cast of nearly 30 actors,” said Pedro Garcia, the veteran actor and director from the Valley to Hollywood. “Like all my theater productions in the past, I like to see a paper script become live action. I also cherish the opportunities for all involved in this art process,” he said.
Garcia has been involved in more than 100 plays and film production, has directed dozens of live plays in Teatro Nuestro Cultura, which he founded in McAllen, and remains an active member of the Screen Actors Guild. He also served three years as a U.S. Marine, a useful background for directing a play.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for a localplaywright to get a work produced and staged,” Garcia added. “The big challenge with this play has been in trying to tell the City of Pharr’s 100 years of history in a two-act play. We will present it through a series of short vignettes where multiple actors will play various roles.
“Of course, not all Pharr’s history will fit in the play, but we will offer insight to history with a charming, exciting and entertaining play that the whole family can enjoy.”
The playright, Tiffany Anderson, also is justly proud of the results. Condensing 100 years into two hours is not easy.
“My goal for this show is to spark the audience’s interest in the history of Pharr and the Valley at large,” she said.
“The hardest part is keeping track of citing sources, matching fictional characters with their historical counterparts, and keeping in mind this story will be told on the stage, not on film. There is so much valuable information on Pharr’s history that doesn’t fall under traditional published media, so it can be challenging to give credit where credit is due.
“My favorite part is seeing the words on paper come to life on the rehearsal stage. I love seeing every person on the production team bring their talent to the table, whether it’s a vision of the costumes, the stage or the dialog,” she added.
Elva Michal, the co-producer for this large production and co-founder of the Pharr Literacy Project and Cultural Arts Center, said: “I have three goals for this play:
“First, to unite the community to work together in support of increased opportunities for cultural performances of all kinds in Pharr, second to produce a show of high qualiity and professionlism that is cost-effective and which is available to every family in Pharr and the nearby areas (including rural colonia areas). Third to continue to expand the Pharr Literacy Project and Cultural Arts Center into a creative learning center that will provide a higher quality of life for its residents.
“I LOVE the opening scene of the play, where the conductor announces ‘PHARR DEPOT!’ and an actor named Pierce (a local real estate agent) announces ‘Welcome to the Magic Valley, every farmer’s dream! The founders of Pharr, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Pharr himself, had the immaculate foresight to provide irrigation from the Great River, the Rio Grande, making our land an oasis of growth.”
“I never get tired of seeing and hearing that introduction to the play!” she added.
If you like fun, true history, good and bad, or a play hitting some strange highlights of Pharr’s 100th birthday, don’t miss this rollicking play that may well inspire other Valley cities to stage their highlights some day.