Nucky Walder and Mario Marcel are household names to many Spanish-speaking residents of Washington, DC. For more than 60 years, Marcel, who is from Argentina, has dedicated himself to acting, theater education, and directing. He has participated in well over 200 productions and has won countless awards for his work in Europe, South America and the United States.
Nucky Walder grew up in Paraguay and studied architecture at the National University, but her true love was always theater. While she was finishing the course work for her Master’s Degree, Marcel was an international star in Argentina. She and her fellow actors wanted to invite him to direct the play they were rehearsing, but they didn’t have enough money to import him. Fortunately, another theater troupe brought Marcel to Paraguay, where he and Nucky met. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 1981, soon after they met, Walder and Marcel married. They worked together until they felt the need to settle somewhere new with their daughter, Marcela. They considered Spain, New York, and Puerto Rico, but finally settled on DC. “I didn’t want to raise my daughter in New York,” said Nucky. “And Spain seemed so far away.” They came to Washington with their nearly two-year-old daughter in 1984 and Mario acted with GALA Theater for a while.
By 1991, Marcel and Walder realized that it was time to create their own company, so they co-founded the non-profit Teatro de la Luna, a tiny gem of a theater on Georgia Avenue. To this day, de la Luna has carried out a clear mission: to provide the finest Latin American theater for both Spanish and English-speaking audiences in order to promote Hispanic culture and foster cross-cultural understanding. Now Marcela is part of the team, acting in productions and helping with administrative work.
The care that Marcel and Walder have taken to provide an extraordinary range of theater and to import excellent foreign artists to Washington has served them well. Singly and together over the years, they have been awarded numerous awards, from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington’s Tony Taylor Award to the STAR Award, and from the Arlington County Commission for the Arts to the American Association of University Women, and to the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs. Most importantly, they have been rewarded by a large and loyal audience that doesn’t miss a show at 4020 Georgia Avenue.
Teatro de la Luna’s upcoming twenty-ninth season, titled “The Moon and its Magic,” contains three main productions:
“Andar Sin Pensamiento” (“Walking without Thinking”) plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 4 p.m. Sundays from September 27 through October 13. Written by Argentinian playwright Jorge Horacio Huertas and directed by Marcel, it begins with a romantic tango, breezes by a friendship, then halts on the brink of love.
The second main stage production is “La Madre Pasota” (“Mother Pasota”) by playwright and Nobel laureate Dario Fo. Directed by Marcel and performed by Jhackaye Garcia, “La Madre Pasota” is a comedy that demonstrates how brilliantly Fo wrote monologues. The show opens at 8 p.m. on March 20 and will run through March 29. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays.
“Ay, Amor, Ya No Me Quieras Tanto” (“Oh, Dear, Don’t Love Me So Much”) was written by Lucero Millán. It will star Marcela Ferlito and Micky Thomas. The play introduces us to a man and a woman yesterday; shows us their memories and stories today; and suggests that tomorrow love will be their destiny. The play opens on May 8, 2020, and closes May 24.
Teatro de la Luna will also present outstanding solo productions. First, a one-time-only event at 7:30 p.m. October 3: Columbian stand-up comedian, Leo Reales, performs “Poliglota à Lo Colombiano” (“Colombian Polyglot”). Throughout the show, Reales addresses his audience in a blend of Spanish, English, and French.
On Friday, October 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 20 at 4 p.m., the Luis Poma Theater from El Salvador will present “Angel de la Guarda” (“Guardian Angel”). Written by Jorge Avalos, this play is directed by Roberto Salomón and performed by Naara Salomón. It invites its audience to reflect on how the magic of words and imagination can help children defy ghosts of the past.
On October 25, 26 at 8 p.m. and 27 at 4 p.m., Miami’s Adriana Barraza Veritatem Theatre brings its monologue: “Cantame Sobre El Amor…y Otras Torturas” (“Sing to me of Love… and Other Tortures”). Writer/Director Neher Jacqueline Briceño will perform this humorous vision of a woman’s struggle to understand why she needs to leave her country to work at an opera singer’s house.
Leading up to Christmas, Juana Estrella comes to DC from Ecuador to star in “El Juicio de la Sra. Claus…todo lo que dige pueda ser utilizado en su contra.” (“The Judgement of Mrs. Claus…everything she says can be used against her”). In this comic thriller, written by Estrella, Mrs. Claus defends herself before a jury dealing with events that occurred on a Not-So-Holy Christmas Eve. Performances: December 6, 7, and 14 at 8 p.m. and December 8 and 15 at 4 p.m.
Other events include
– Four “Friday Night Moonlight Tango Shows.”
– Four “Nights and Afternoons of Ballads.”
– “Festivales de Teatro Bilingüe Para Niños” (“Bilingual Festivals for Children”): Live performances, magic shows, dancing, clowns. All workshops bilingual.
– A fundraiser for Teatro de la Luna, Saturday, April 18, 2020, at 6 p.m., at NRECA Conference Center – 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. Includes dinner and dancing with the Joe Falero band.
– A play reading series, traveling theater, and bilingual workshops for adults and children who want to learn Spanish or improve their language skills.
– “The Pen and the Word,” a Poetry Marathon held at the Library of Congress and at Casa de la Luna every spring. Renowned guest poets are accompanied by audience members who recite or read their own work or the poems of well-known artists.
Teatro de la Luna performs at 4020 Georgia Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. For information or reservations, call Teatro de la Luna: 202-882-6227; visit www.teatrodelaluna.org; or email: email@example.com.