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‘A magical realism’

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Leonard Madrid is a storyteller.

The New Mexico native finds inspiration for his plays through his surroundings.

Teatro Paraguas is staging a virtual performance of Madrid’s “Volver Volver Volver” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The performance is free, though a donation is suggested to help Teatro Paraguas.

Playwright Leonard Madrid

“Volver Volver Volver” is the story of a young man, Junie, who led a fast and reckless life. He is called back from the dead by an unknown bruja in Portales and finds the inner peace that eluded him in life.

“This is one of my older plays,” Madrid says. “He returns after three years and finds out that he is dead. He returns to his mother, his wife and daughter. There is magical realism in there, as well as a look at the toxic masculinity in his life.”

Madrid wrote the play in 2005 when he had a residency at the Kennedy Center.

Since then, it’s been produced by theater companies across the country.

Teatro Paraguas had shown interest in Madrid’s play for a few years.

“They wanted it to be part of their Día de los Muertos celebration,” he says. “It fits in perfectly with that.”

It is directed by Argos MacCallum.

The production features Carlos de la Torre as Junie, Juliet Marie Salazar as his mother, Jeni Nelson as his wife, and Shaunti Sitonik as his daughter.

The play is set in Madrid’s hometown – Portales.

More than a decade after it was written, Madrid is humbled with its popularity.

“It’s a one-act,” he says. “It’s had more readings and performances than any of my other plays. It’s flattering that it means something to people.”

The dialog includes Spanglish, yet it continues to find audiences, Madrid says.

“To see people from Washington, D.C., or Virginia, who have never set foot in New Mexico connect with the play is flattering,” he says. “Looking back, I wrote it in a little casita in the student ghetto. I was doing it as a favor for somebody and it’s value has grown with people.”

Madrid studied theatre at Eastern New Mexico University and dramatic writing at University of New Mexico. He has taught theatre at Central New Mexico Community College and in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

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