Eight Tales of Pedro is a show I had to give myself permission to write. When introduced to the Spanish folk tales of Pedro Urdamales I fell in love and wanted to adapt them for the stage. Over the years, as I’ve looked into my own heritage- one grandfather being from Mexico and the other being from Honduras- and I’ve sought to find a connection. I knew that I wanted to tell these stories but I couldn’t say why. Not to anyone else, and certainly not to myself.
I was raised in the Southern California suburbs. I never learned Spanish. I have trouble rolling my Rs. People hear “Garcia” and expected something of me that I didn’t live up to.
The folk tales themselves have had an interesting journey. They began in Spain in the form of oral storytelling. Later Cervantes would write a play based on the title character. Even later as people began to arrive in the Americas, they brought Pedro and his stories. But what did these short tales of trickery, bravery, and honor have to do with now? Or with me?
I couldn’t get them out of my head so I wrote them anyway. I created staged versions. And I saved this collection of stories knowing that someday the right reason would appear to tell them.
I never thought the reason would be Donald Trump. I never expected to be inspired into action by people screaming “build the wall.” I never expected to at one time have to defend my own citizenship to people who felt the need to question it during an argument.
This was a group of people who didn’t see me as a guy from the California Suburbs who didn’t speak Spanish. They didn’t care about my story. This was a group of people who saw me as “brown.” And in their eyes “brown” had little to offer.
Eight Tales of Pedro is my response to that. Here are stories of honor, wit, trickery and most of all fun. Among them, there is another story showcasing what Latinos - specifically the Mexican culture- has brought to US and why it is so important that talk less of borders and walls, and more of bridges and connections.