Honduras: Theatre as if laughing children mattered

In a country as desperately poor as Honduras, why do theatre? 

Theatre is never going to lower the infant mortality rate. Theatre will not save an infant dying of malnutrition. Theatre is never going to change the world. But theatre can make a child laugh, and this reminds us that it fulfils other needs perhaps as desperate. Jack Warner SJ created “Teatro La Fragua” (The Forge Theatre) in 1979. Based in El Progreso, it is theatre that takes the point-of-view of the dispossessed. Its goals are to awaken the creativity of the people, to find solutions to current problems, to fight against the cultural illiteracy that has robbed people of their proud Mayan heritage and to forge a national identity by means of the people’s own expression. 

Thus it is an example of Jesuit work as leaven within a culture. The company of fourteen Honduran actors stages dramas featuring Latin American writers, does dramatic adaptations of local stories, myths and folklore, and performs religious plays such as “¡El Evangelio en vivo!” (The Gospel Live!). The plays are put on in plazas, churches and schoolyards, primarily for poor and working-class audiences with little access to the sources of establishment culture. La Fragua conducts training workshops throughout Central America and has toured in Colombia, Mexico, Spain and the United States.