Quixote Nuevo by Octavio Solis

The range of Latinidad on stage in Quixote Nuevo

The Influence of Rasquachismo

A play’s directors and designers often look to existing works of art for inspiration, and the Alley’s production of Quixote Nuevo is no exception. For this show, the team was inspired by a dynamic Chicano style. For a long time, the term “rasquache” was a negative one, which conjured words like “tacky” or “recycled.” But artists have reclaimed and rebranded the style as Rasquachismo.  

 "Rasquache is being able to take a little pushcart that sells ice cream cones and turn it into a three-bedroom house. That is the essence of it.”

-Cheech Marin, Smithsonian interview

Footage showcasing the rascquachismo aesthetic of Quixote Nuevo

Quick Listen: Cheech Marin talks about rasquachismo and Chicano art

Repurpose Your Own Legacy

The Alley’s Education team recently worked with 10 local schools to explore the power of dreams in our lives, and our community, by creating an amazing 12-foot sculpture called Ambulantes. This work of art, curated by local artist Carolina Borja, can be seen in the Alley Theatre lobby during the run of Quixote Nuevo. Here’s how it went down:  

  • Houston students were asked to create art pieces in the style of Rasquachismo. Carolina provided instructions for each student, and Alley Teaching Artists guided them through the construction. Each piece reflected themes present in the Alley’s productions of The Winter’s Tale and Quixote Nuevo.  

  • Carolina collected the hundreds of items and turned them into the stunning and massive work of art. Students and their families will see their work at the Alley while attending the 2020 production.  

Local artist Carolina Borja guiding student work

Activity: Now you do it! 

Teachers and community members can make their own Rasquachimo works of art, reflecting themes found in the play. Instructions for 5 different pieces can be found here

A Chorus of Calacas

For this adaptation, Octavio Solis incorporates an ensemble that fluidly shifts from the residents of La Plancha to a sort of Greek chorus, led by Death himself. They are the calacas- a reference to the skeletons commonly used during Day of the Dead festivals. In Quixote Nuevo, they are led by Pap Calaca, and they follow Quixote throughout the play.

"[The calacas are] a bridge between the past and the present, between one world and another, between memory and fantasy." 

KJ talks about the show's unique take on Calacas

Learn more about calacas, calaveras, & catrinas

Is it cultural exchange or appropriation? Allure covers five important aspects of traditional skull makeup to consider before you paint. 

A Unique Sound

Quixote Nuevo isn't a musical, but it is a musical play. It's filled with Tejano-inspired underscoring, soundscapes, and original songs. Even some of the instruments are original. 

Whether you're broke or flush with cash, making your own instruments can be a fun challenge.

The lyrical dialogue and intrinsic musicality of the play is a fitting tribute to the source material (it's filled with ballads and musical references).

David Molina talks about Tejano music & its influence on his design

David Molina creates a unique sound for Quixote Nuevo

If you've ever wondered what playlists your favorite literary characters might rock out to, Flavorwrie has got you covered.

Check out our guide on Misa Fronteriza to learn about (and listen to) Ranchera, Norteño, Mariachi, and more. 

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.