by Reyn Ricafort ’25
El Mito or The Myth of My Pain, a new play written by visiting artist in residence in playwriting, Andrew Rincón, received its first staged reading on April 1st in Filene Hall, presented by Skidmore Theater and made possible in part by the support of The Miranda Family Fund at The Hispanic Federation and the Skidmore College Presidential Discretionary Fund. The cast, directed by Teisha Duncan, was composed of both students (Sophia Paulino Adames, Javier Soto, and Fabian Rodriguez) and professional actors (Francisco Arcila, Guadalís Del Carmen, Andrea Abello, and Luis Vega) of Latinx descent, an extension of Rincón’s homage to his Colombian roots which inspire the play’s focus on culture, family, and storytelling.
The play follows Los Villegas, a Colombian-American family in Miami, Florida whose pride and joy lie in their locally produced telenovela. However, the family experiences difficulty in dealing with the recent loss of their Abuela Rosmira, as evidenced by Michelle’s own frustration with the reality of growing up and life in general. The family refuses to reckon with their grief, allowing it to fester and break the family apart without their knowledge. One prime example is Flaco’s divorce from his husband Freddie which demonstrates how unacknowledged pain can affect the ways in which people receive and offer love.
Michelle, however, proves to be the play’s heroine, as she discovers her ability to travel into other people’s “inner worlds” to save them. Pulling from the magic of cultural myth, Rincón paints a world of fantasy as Michelle is empowered by Patasola, a supposed demon whose unfettered bravery compels Michelle to face the reality of her fears. Throughout her journey, Michelle shares her discoveries with her family, and together they fight against three demons who continually tempt the family to ignore their pain and succumb to avoidance.
Flaco’s journey becomes an important focus in the story, as he struggles against the demon El Silbon, who lures him into apathy towards his issues. One notable moment in the play occurs when Flaco goes on Grindr, a popular gay hookup app, and is seduced by El Silbon who poses to be an extremely enticing man. In the end, Michele uses a machete to destroy the other demons but Flaco destroys El Silbon himself, a profound demonstration of Flaco’s acceptance of the reality of his heartbreak over Freddie and his grief for Abuela Rosmira. Flaco then cries into Michelle’s arms to cement this newfound self-awareness where feelings are acceptable and outwardly expressed.
El Mito or the Myth of my Pain is a truly riveting experience. One can say that the play resembles a telenovela of its own, one filled with characters whose fiery interactions glow with humor, specificity, and moving love. Indeed Rincón shares his unabashed love for the imaginary, where the characters step out of their telenovela and into the difficult and often painful realities that come with life. But, as Michelle teaches her family, the audience, and the greater collective whom the theater serves, “adios to the part of you living in the myth of the world.”
Reyn Ricafort ’25 is a staff writer for the Skidmore Theater Living Newsletter