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George Washington Reenacted

By George Gonzalez
On April 18, 2015

Displaying BRIDGE_2015_WBCA_Performance - Actors John Lopes & Damon Bonetti.jpg

Free and opened to the public, the American Historical Theatre presented “George Washington and the Spanish Agent” on the evening of Wednesday, February 11th at the Center for Fine Performing Arts Theater at the Texas A&M International University. Written by Ian Rose, the one-act play captured a historical and often overlooked meeting between General Washington and Spanish agent Juan De Miralles that took place in late 1778.

The performance began with the Castanet Ensemble under the direction of Altagracia Azios Garcia. The seven all-female castanet players captured both the culture, joy, and artistic value that playing the castanets shows, with each performer eternally furthering their craft.

Following the Castanet Ensemble was Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association President, Veronica Castillon, as she welcomed the audience to the event, while also thanking the sponsors Castellano and Carpenter Dental Associates for their support, as well as Dr. Keck and the TAMIU faculty for hosting the event at the university.

The WBCA President helped set the stage by giving those in attendance some background to the setting of the play. “Let’s go back to late December 1778. George Washington is in Philadelphia to meet with the Continental Congress,” explained Castillon.

Further adding, “The mood is one of optimism in light of the recent evacuation of the British from Philadelphia and the friendship with the French alliance. General Washington, however, is not impressed by the numerous celebrations which are taking place throughout the city. He is concerned and realizes that the colonists are still waging across a war, and this war is one that could still be lost.”

Soon after, acclaimed actor John Lopes took to the stage portraying George Washington and Philadelphia-based actor/director Damon Bonetti entered playing the role of Juan De Miralles, a Spanish agent.

Taking on a more educational angle, the performance had the attention of those in attendance with Lopes’ 6’ tall stature, the actor portrayed Washington as a thoughtful, impressive, man of action. Bonetti’s charismatic and graceful portrayal of Miralles also demanded attention and conveyed a key Spanish influence during the American Revolution-era play.

After the performance was over, both Lopes and Bonetti took questions from the audience. Still very much in their characters, the actors answered over half a dozen inquiries about the research and methods in discovering this particular story. It seemed almost unanimous that the audience was not aware that such a meeting took place or that the Spanish empire was a great deal of help toward Washington.

For instance, “the victory in Yorktown would not have been possible without the Spanish fleet and Spanish finances,” stated Lopes while in-character. Continuing that, “I certainly hope that this evenings performance has shed some light on this very, very, very much over-looked aspect of the American Revolution.”

Overall, the show was brilliantly acted and the chemistry between  both actors carried the narrative of the short half-hour play. On top of that, the Castanet Ensemble at the beginning was also delightful. Nevertheless, the WBCA event could be described as a success with audience members from all ages applauding at the end of the show.

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