El Canguro (2011)

Libretto by Cynthia Ferrell

© Charles Lewis

Premiered: September 10, 2011 at the AT & T Center Theatre, Los Angeles 
Presented by California International Theatre Festival
Sponsored by KUSC Classical Radio & Pepperdine University
Directed by: Cynthia Ferrell

Reviews & Articles:
– El Canguro review (in Stage Raw by Steven Leigh Morris, September 13, 2011)
– Oak Park writer finds inspiration in Guatemala’s black-market baby industry
by Karen Lindell, September 2, 2011
– Take Us Home with You… We want to Live!
Article about the opera “El Canguro”, The Opera League of Los Angeles, Issue 21, Spring 2010
– Eine Oper entsteht (An opera in progress)
Article about the forum of the opera in progress “El Canguro” at the Herrenhaus Edenkoben, Rheinpfalz from May 30, 2009
– Einblicke in der Welt der Komponisten (A look into the world of composers)
Article about the forum of the opera in progress “El Canguro” at the Herrenhaus Edenkoben, Rheinpfalz from June 4, 2009

El Canguro („The Kangaroo“) is the haunted tale of Roo, a poverty-stricken girl of 20, living in the rainforest of Tikal.  It is a jungle meditation on the tragic mental and societal cost of child trafficking, told from the point of view of this mixed-race young woman. Roo is at once surrounded by the magnificent pyramids of her Maya ancestors and the soda-can tiled shacks of her living Maya neighbors.  To her father, Roo is a source of new wealth:  she bears babies to sell into the lucrative adoption market. The proceeds are enough to build a true house for her father and brother – and enough to give Roo courage to challenge traditional society. Yet the year is ending; international laws are closing in. To capitalize quickly on the last of the big money, her father, Denis, has sold Roo’s unborn, third child, three times over.  The effort is already too late:  in the nighttime, unknown to him, Roo has miscarried.  A cat-and-mouse game ensues – Roo desperate to hide the grave and find another child to sell. Shadowing the family’s rain-drenched encounters is a dangerous, simmering war between the village and the vicious ruling gang.  When the slim rail fence of her newly-built home is breached by the gang, Roo and her small family face their final option and epiphany.


Roo Matías Inocencio 20, a Maya/Ladina
Polo Matías Inocencio 15, Roo’s brother
Denis Matías 40, their Ladino father
Itzel Inocencio Vargas 17, their Maya cousin, with a newborn baby
New York Wife 50s, Jewish American
Cesar 30, a silent extortionist, completely tattooed
Chorus Adopting couples, priest, Maya matriarch, Maya daughter with anewborn baby, gang members. All double as animals.

NY Wife
NY Husband
Kansas Wife
Kansas Husband
English Husband 1
English Husband 2
Tour Guide

„Pillars of Stone“, performed by Lillian Lee and Megan Gillespie at the AT&T Center Theater in Los Angeles, 2011, sponsored by KUSC and Pepperdine University, presented by California International Theatre Festival.