The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center proudly presents, for the first time in San Antonio, Robert Aguirre-Sacasa’s original piece “King of Shadows”.

Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, whose parents emigrated from Nicaragua, has been known for being one of the few Latino comic writers. He has written for Marvel comics such as Spiderman, and has recently been selected to write the Superman musical as well as the musical adaption of American Psycho.

Most of his work has been strongly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, hence the dark nature of his writings. Although his piece “King of Shadows” has been referred to as a modern, loose interpretation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, it has to very little with the latter.

They required Aquirre-Sacasa to write the play using two essential influences in mind: Shakespeare and the Homeless Youth Alliance in San Francisco. “It is an entirely original piece of work”, says, Theatre Arts Director, Vincent Toro.

“It contains very real themes:  illusion, terror, and human exploitation, and places them in modern times. The setting is highly contemporary; there is a scene where the character is seen playing with a Wii Controller, and another listening to an iPod”.

The play explores many dark modern issues such as drugs, sexual confusion, and prostitution. Strong language and sexual content is very much prominent throughout the whole performance.

The main male character, Nihar, lives as a homeless, bisexual prostitute in order to survive. Jessica, a graduate student, hopes to receive recognition by writing a book on the lives of homeless people, and befriends Nihar in the process. He explains that he is not from this “universe”, and needs protection from the King of Shadows for a couple of days before he can return to his own world.

Nihar talks about a world full of strange characters, mystical fogs, fiery demons and more. Intrigued, Jessica offers her home, only to find out the dark natures a human can embody.

“Exploitation and paranoia drives the play” explains Toro. “The student is paranoid about the strange homeless kid, yet needs to exploit him for her own success.” There are many parallels in the story such as the characters’ paranoia of Nihar, due to his strange nature representing the media influence on society as a whole. The San Francisco fog-like setting casts a shadow of unseen terror throughout the whole stage.

“The story itself is a dark fantasy, a story about fear” says Toro. “But at the end, there is still a feeling of hope”.

The target audience is written specifically for high school and college students, ages 18-26. Due to its mature nature, viewer discretion is advised for younger audiences.

Opening night for the premiere of King of Shadows is Friday, October 15; at 8pm.

Tickets are $10, and $8 with a UTSA ID.

On Halloween night, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is holding a costume party, with half priced tickets to anyone with a costume.

“This is a story targeted to the younger audience; a comical yet intelligent plot” says Toro. “We welcome especially college students to enjoy a compelling yet very entertaining piece of art”.

Mr. Vincent Toro, a New York native poet, writer and playwright, received his B.A. in English and Theatre from Rutgers University.

He has been recognized as Global Rhythm Magazine 2004’s Unsigned Artist of the Year, and received associate artist residency with the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. His wife, Grisel Acosta, an English doctoral student at UTSA, is an instructor at the Writing Center, is also a writer and poet.

Founded on 1980, The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center has been one of San Antonio’s oldest and largest cultural centers, which has been the site for many local festivals such as the Tejano Conjunto and CineFestival.

Many international artists, such as Jessie Borego and Cantiflas, have had the opportunity to perform on stage. The Center is also site for art galleries, art classes and community art space. It offers six different disciplines: music, theatre, dance, literature, film and visual art.

Upcoming events include play “Historias y Recuerdos”, offering the history of the folklorico dance, and a Spanish Opera on the Three Wise Men in collaboration with St. Mary’s University.

For more information about the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, call (210) 271-3151or visit their website, www.guadalupeculturalarts.org.

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