A Tale of Two Ditties

In contrast, Rivera seems determined to form a company and find a space in downtown Santa Ana that will allow him to feature new work, classic plays, children's plays and bilingual plays. With 15 years of experience in film, stage and TV, Rivera has ambitions more interesting than mere show biz.

"When Mexicans speak of indigena, they speak of the Indian people of Mexico," Rivera says. "These tribes have been around since the beginning of time and surely will survive long after we are gone. The name Teatro Indigena was chosen in honor of this ancient civilization and in the spirit of creating fruitful multicultural theater."

It's tempting to think Rivera will eventually have his own space that will feature a band of radical Chicano artists dedicated to staging confrontational, fiery agit-prop theater in the heart of Santa Ana. We'll see. In conversation, Rivera seems a very earnest, talented guy who loves theater and wants nothing more than to give something real back to his community.

Whatever direction Teatro Indigena chooses, it will be a welcome one. At its heart, theater is really simple: it's about telling stories, and any company that tells stories that aren't often addressed is a welcome addition to any theater community.

A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory's Mainstage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555. Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 23-24, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., noon & 4 p.m. $17-$39.

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