ALTAR by Santiago Guzmán
Eugenio is a queer young immigrant living in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador. Less than a year has passed since his move from Mexico, but in that time, he experienced deep love and deeper heartbreak when his new boyfriend, Benjamin, inexplicably “ghosted” him. No, Benjamin isn’t dead; he just stopped calling and texting. And the thing is…Eugenio’s still not over it. Looking to the traditional Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (The Day of The Dead) and his father's previous experience with paranormal activities, Eugenio decides to build an altar (a central part of the Día de Muertos ritual) in the hopes that he will be able to summon his boyfriend’s ‘ghost’ to sort out the end of their relationship once and for all. Through the altar, Eugenio realizes that he has been something of a ghost himself to the loved ones he left behind in Mexico. Will setting up an altar be enough for Eugenio to forgive, forget, and love again? Or enough to help him heal the relationships with his friends and family far away?
Keywords: queer love, Mexican, Día de Muertos, ghosting, altar, Newfoundland and Labrador
Produced by Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company, St. John's, Newfoundland, 2021
Run time: 60 minutes
Content note: Contains talk about death and ghosts
Suitable for students 14+
Cover photo by Ashley Harding
Cast size: 1 actor
Casting note: Whenever possible, EUGENIO should be played by a queer, Mexican performer. If not, a queer Latinx performer who is familiar with the tradition of Día de Muertos will suffice.
"It's about love, it's about grief, it's about culture, it's about letting go (or not letting go), it's about family, it's about marigolds, it's about Día de los Muertos, it's about friendship."
- Scholar, Kelly Anne Butler
"A breath of fresh air! Tender, poignant and funny. And all around the edges of this theatrical event there is care... Thank you, Santi, for making stuff matter..."
- Theatre creator, Jeannette Lambermont-Morey
"Altar by Santiago Guzmán is a beautiful night in the theatre. Smart and funny and touching - just gorgeous."
- Arts Manager, Ann Connors
"For those of you who want to support diverse artists and diverse art, this is your chance. Breathtaking, moving, exquisite!"
- Scholar and Activist, Sobia Shaikh
"Altar ... was simply beautiful."
- Radio Anchor, Ramraajh Sharvendiran