The theater troupe Agua, Sol y Sereno from Puerto Rico performed and paraded with youth from Boston’s Hyde Square Task Force at Mozart Park in Boston last evening after leading a week-long workshop with the teens. The performance was part of Boston’s Latin Quarter’s celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. Agua, Sol y Sereno is scheduled to perform at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on Sunday, Sept. 17, at noon, as Latinx Heritage Month continues in Boston.
Agua, Sol y Sereno was founded by the couple Pedro Adorno and Cathy Vigo in 1993. The company is best known for its cabezudos, big head masks, with aesthetic roots tracing back to European carnival. They have turned their masks into icons of the annual San Sebastián Street Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The masks honor Puerto Rico’s historical figures as well as anonymous town denizens and community leaders.
Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny saluted his homeland during his performance at the Grammy Awards in February 2023 by inviting Agua, Sol y Sereno to dance with him costumed in their cabezudos representing baseball legend Roberto Clemente, rapper and reggaeton icon Tego Calderón, poet and civil rights activist Julia de Burgos and other Puerto Rican greats.
Agua, Sol y Sereno’s aesthetic aims to weave Afro-Caribbean popular culture, experimentation and avant-garde. “Our narrative is inclusive, decolonial and always in tune with the most vulnerable communities, with which we actively collaborate,” they write on their website (roughly translated here from their original Spanish).
They’re an activist theater of resistance and social critique from “the oldest colony in the world.” They write (roughly translated here) on their website, “We are the echo of all those voices that they have wanted to silence.”
Adorno and other members of Agua, Sol y Sereno spent this past week working with the Hyde Square teens making papier-mâché hats depicting turtles, sharks, octopuses, seals and other ocean creatures. They also collaborated with the youth over three days to sculpt one of their signature papier-mâché cabezudos—in this case depicting a local Latino notable (Adorno swore me to secrecy about who the person depicted is until Sunday’s performance).
At Mozart Park last night, they performed their humorous play “Comer” (Eat). Then they changed outfits and paraded back into the park on stilts with youth from the Hyde Square Task Force as well as the band Raíz de Plena.