Marrano: A Tale from the Inquisition

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The International Latino Cultural Center and Physical Theater Festival Chicago Join Forces to Present LaPercha Teatro’s Production.

Part of the 10th Annual Physical Theater Festival Chicago, this play about the persecution of Sephardic Jews in Spain will be staged at Theater Wit from July 13-15

CHICAGO (June 14, 2023) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC) and Physical Theater Festival Chicago proudly present Marrano: a Tale from the Inquisition, a riveting tale about intolerance and religious persecution as part of the 10th Annual Physical Theater Festival Chicago at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., from Thursday July 13 – Saturday July 15. Showtimes are Thursday, 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Admission: General, $20; Industry/Students/Seniors/Veterans, $15. Tickets can be purchased online at

Produced and staged by the Spanish-Israeli company LaPercha Teatro, Marrano: a tale from the Inquisition begins with the assassination in Zaragoza, Spain, of Pedro de Arbúes, the highest representative of the Holy Inquisition in 1485. The story begins by exploring the identity of one of the men responsible for the assassination: Diego de Sevilla. Formerly known as Uriel and a shoemaker’s son, his life is turned upside down when religious intolerance and fanaticism snatch away everything he had, forcing him to renounce his faith, his world, and his own family. 

LaPercha Teatro uses the language of Mime-Narrator, in which the plot flows dynamically and captivatingly. Throughout the play, five actors incarnate more than twenty characters. In order to create the environment, spirit and atmosphere of the Jewish culture of that time, ancient Sephardic melodies and Hebrew prayers are sung and performed. In addition, inspired by Peter Brook’s concept of the empty space, the company reproduces live the sounds of the mimed action: the crackling of the fire, a hammer striking a nail, a door closing or the wind blowing in the street…

Founded in September 2020, the seed for LaPercha Teatro was planted during the training process at the Mar Navarro and Andrés Hernández International Theater School (2018-2020) and whose particularity is precisely the collective creation as a way of thinking and doing theater. It is there where the five members of the company met. All of them from different origins, they decided to stay in Madrid with the idea of ​​bringing together the classic and the contemporary through different theatrical languages.

“It has been a dream to bring this show and we are so appreciative that the ILCC partnership has made that dream a reality. As a Jewish person, I am very excited to see this show make its US premiere at our Festival this summer.  For many people, the story of the Inquisition and its impact on World Jewry is not well known and I think this fantastic piece will help bring awareness of the rich Sephardic Jewish culture that existed and continues to thrive centuries after the Inquisitors tried to snuff it out,” said Marc Forst co-founder and co-producer of Physical Theater Festival Chicago.

“When I moved to Chicago, my first job was working for Pepe and the ILCC’s Chicago Latino Film Festival so it was a real full-circle moment to collaborate on this project. And, as a physical theater lover, I am thrilled to have Chicago audiences experience Marrano with its precise and empathetic storytelling of a story that needs to be told,” added Festival co-founder and co-producer Alice da Cunha.

“The International Latino Cultural Center has supported the Physical Theater Festival and Alice’s and Marc’s vision from Day One; this co-presentation is the natural evolution of that support. Marrano: a Tale from the Inquisition is a powerful piece that addresses the times we live in, that shows how history constantly repeats itself and how we have yet to learn history’s many lessons, said Pepe Vargas, Executive Director and Founder of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.


The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a Pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and increasing awareness of Latino cultures among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy, theater and culinary arts.

The Center prides itself for its outstanding multidisciplinary local and international cultural programming which spans Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. 

Born out of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago also produces other programs, including the Chicago Latino Music Series (formerly known as the Latino Music Festival), which is celebrating its 17th edition this year; Film in the Parks, also in its 17th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 14th year; and many others. All in all, the audience has grown from 500 people in 1985 for the first Chicago Latino Film Festival to more than 70,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos) who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.


Physical Theater Festival Chicago is an annual contemporary, visual, and physical theater festival that presents new forms of theater that are being performed around the world. In 2014, Alice da Cunha and Marc Frost launched the inaugural Physical Theater Festival through the Artistic Associate program at Links Hall. The inspiration for the Festival drew upon their combined experience in London as physical theater students at the London International School for the Performing Arts (LISPA). Moving from London to Chicago, they were inspired to start a new festival to promote a more progressive, fresh and physical approach to theater-making in Chicago. 

Originally from Brazil, Alice is an actress, producer and teacher who has lived and worked in Portugal, the US and the UK. While in London, Alice worked as an actress as well as producing a weekly short film festival, ShortCutz London, and as the Marketing Director for CASA, London’s Latin American Theatre Festival. Alice also serves as Artistic Consultant to Theater Unspeakable and has acted in various films, TV and theater shows including United Flight 232 (Jeff for Best Ensemble & Best Mid-Sized Prod.). Alice also does translation and interpreting for various companies including the Chicago Latino Film Festival.


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