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Theater Artist Marcela Brondo Stars in Bilingual Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing
Performances Oct. 17-26

by Fredric Dannen

Marcela Brondo, an actor, director, and theater administrator living in San Miguel, reached a crossroads of her career when she was only seven.

Brondo acted in the pilot episode of Nosotros los Gómez, a 1980s situation comedy on Mexican television, modeled on The Brady Bunch, about parents in Mexico City with three sons and three daughters. Marcela had grown up in a performing arts family that included prominent actors and directors, and her mother was a dancer. Her father, however, was a chemist, and he pulled her out of the show after the pilot, against the producers' wishes.

"He did it to protect me," Marcela recalls today. "My father believed it was more important for a child to attend school and have a real life." She adds, "I'm fine with all that."

Brondo went on to study acting and theater arts in depth, but she also got a well-rounded education, and the combination of those disciplines has helped make her the theater professional she is today. In 2017, Marcela co-founded La Troupe México, the first bilingual theater company in San Miguel, and one of the few in Latin America; and last year she directed La Troupe's production of Las Madres, a new play about a young woman's abduction by the Argentinean military junta. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles, Las Madres was a sensation, with eight sold-out shows at the San Miguel Playhouse, to an audience half Mexican national and half expatriate.

Now Brondo, in her first acting appearance in San Miguel in nearly two years, is portraying Beatrice, the female lead in Much Ado About Nothing / Mucho Ruido y Pocas Nueces, by William Shakespeare, in a production by the San Francisco-based Symmetry Theatre Company.

"Beatrice is a very modern character, a fiercely independent woman angry about her restrictions in a male-dominated society," Brondo says. "At the same time, she is a woman in love – a love she is reluctant to recognize, because she was wounded in the past. And yet, she is also a joyful woman who loves life. So the part is quite challenging!"

Taking inspiration from La Troupe, Symmetry has set the play in a bilingual city (San Miguel, perhaps?), where the characters may at times speak either in English or in Spanish. Bilingual supertitles will assist any audience member conversant in only one language. Visiting actors from Symmetry are performing alongside local actors, in a cast that also includes Christian Baumgartner and Ginna Acosta.


Much Ado About Nothing / Mucho Ruido y Pocas Nueces, by William Shakespeare
Presented in English and Spanish, with bilingual supertitles
Thurs., Oct. 17; Sat., Oct. 19; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 24-26, 7:30pm
Geek & Coffee, at the Fabrica Aurora

Tickets: 400/200 pesos, and 50 pesos (students)
Available at the door, or online at:


Fredric Dan­nen is a jour­nal­ist and author with a spe­cial­ty in crim­i­nal jus­tice. He has been a staff writer for the New York­er and Van­i­ty Fair.

In 1990, Hit Men, his book about the Amer­i­can music indus­try and the influ­ence of orga­nized crime, spent a mon­th on the New York Times best­seller list. The book is #2 on Billboard's list of 100 Greatest Music Books of All Time. One of his Van­i­ty Fair arti­cles prompt­ed the Six­th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals to rebuke the U.S. Jus­tice Dept. for fraud­u­lent­ly with­hold­ing excul­pa­to­ry evi­dence in the case of Cleve­land auto work­er John Dem­jan­juk, who was extra­dit­ed, wrong­ly con­vict­ed, and sen­tenced to hang in Israel as the Nazi war-criminal “Ivan the Ter­ri­ble.” He secured the only inter­view given by Los Ange­les police chief Daryl Gates on the heels of the infa­mous Rod­ney King beat­ing, and the only inter­view ever given by crime boss Loren­zo Nichols, the crack king­pin of New York City.

While con­duct­ing research for a forth­com­ing book, Dan­nen uncov­ered lost evi­dence in the case of Calv­in Wash­ing­ton, a Tex­an wrong­ly con­vict­ed of homi­cide. As the direct result of Dannen’s efforts, Calv­in Wash­ing­ton won a full par­don for inno­cence, the first ever grant­ed by Tex­as gov­er­nor Rick Per­ry under the state’s DNA statute.

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