Based on the notorious 1942 “Sleepy Lagoon” murder mystery, which resulted in the “Zoot Suit Riots” in Los Angeles, California, playwright Luis Valdez combines fact and fiction in the play “Zoot Suit” to portray the fate of 12 young Mexican Americans that were brought to trial for a murder they did not commit. Valdez created the play; “Zoot Suit” that brought a strong symbolic significance for Mexican Americans and expresses about the riots during World War II. The play, “Zoot Suit” represents the culmination of a Chicano theater movement that integrated four theatrical forms, which are actos, mitos, corridos, and historias that designed “heighten reality” through “highly stylized” presentational methods that came from the Chicano theater movement.
The play incorporates actos by presenting “laughter, power and the use of personifications” within the characters (Kinan Valdez, Lecture 04/18). According to Kinan Valdez the characters also used the concepts of actos by activating the spine, cultivating the heart, teaching to learn, opening the mind and serving social justice within the play. “Zoot Suit” brings together the unforgettable characters such as the mocking El Pachuco and the charismatic Henry Reyna, a gullible gang leader who finds himself caught in the middle of the racially raging events that astounded Los Angeles during the early 1940s. For example, “Zoot Suit” used the actos technique to illuminate specific points about social problems that were happening in the era of the “Sleepy Lagoon Murder” and the “Zoot Suit Riots”. This expressed how Chicanos were portrayed and treated since they were looked upon as zoot suiters. “Zoot Suit” inspired people to stand and fight for their rights. In the play, Valdez illustrates how Henry Reyna and his fellow friends fight for their rights while in court to prove they were innocent in the “Sleepy Lagoon Murder” case. It took time and with help of people from the community they managed to pull...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document