The Codex Romanoff - theater

August 14 & 20, 3pm; August 17, 7pm; August 21, 3pm & 6pm
SM Playhouse, Ave. Independencia 82
$300, $200, $100, tickets

Leonardo da Vinci was widely known as a polymath, with notable achievements as a painter, sculptor, engineer, scientist and architect. Far less frequently mentioned were his achievements in gastronomy. Leonardo loved to cook, and once ran a tavern restaurant with the painter Sandro Botticelli. His notebooks contain recipes, cooking notes and tips on table manners, along with designs for some ingenious kitchen contraptions, including a spaghetti-molding machine and a device for ridding water barrels of frogs.

In 1981, historians Shelagh and Jonathan Routh compiled Leonardo's kitchen notes in a book that mixed historic fact with fiction. The fiction part concerned a "Codex Romanoff," a manuscript supposedly acquired by the Russian imperial family and housed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, containing Da Vinci's secret recipes. This fanciful quasi-history inspired Mexican playwright Estela Leñero to write her award-winning comedy-drama The Codex Romanoff, which premiered in Mexico City in 2006 and is being performed in San Miguel for the first time as a production of La Troupe México, the bilingual theater company.

The Codex Romanoff, directed by Marcela Brondo and featuring an outstanding cast of Mexican actors from various cites, will be presented in Spanish with simultaneous supertitles in English. Brondo previously directed Las Madres, one of the most spectacular theatrical events in San Miguel history. The Codex Romanoff is being staged as a live radio play, with live music. Set in the mid-19th century in Mexico and on the high seas, Leñero's ingenious work concerns Aurora, a virtuoso chef who happens to be a novitiate in a Mexican convent, and who longs to get her hands on the da Vinci manuscript.

Leñero, who says she will attend the San Miguel production, writes on themes of women and the marginalized. While Codex Romanoff explores those serious themes, it is also a highly entertaining and funny play.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking one of the "Buy Tickets" buttons in this newsletter; or at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, ground level, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm; or online at boletocity.com; or at the theater starting one hour before each performance.

The San Miguel Playhouse has lifted the requirement to show proof of vaccination, but face masks indoors are still mandatory.

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