Click any of the images to view a larger representation.
Photographs from the
Mary Ann Smothers Bruni Collection
Recuerda flores de mi,
lo que va de ayer a hoy.
Que ayer maravilla fui,
ya sombra de mi no soy
Remember my fate flowers,
and what can happen from day to day.
Yesterday I was a daisy,
today I am not even a shadow of myself
“The first time I heard these lines was one evening at the
University of Madrid. They were spoken by well-known professor/poet
Dámaso Alonso, who later became the head of the Real
Academia Española, the Royal Spanish Academy. The second
time was a cold winter evening at Mission San José in
San Antonio. They were spoken by Victor David Elizondo, a pig
farmer from Lytle, Texas, who was speaking as the defeated
Lucifer in Los Pastores .
As if by magic, I had seen the lines Spain's great 17 th Century
poet Luis de Góngora had expropriated from popular poetry
returned to the folk.“
--Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, in a speech to educators and librarians
When Bruni first began to attend performances and rehearsals
of Los Pastores , the elders in the play paid no attention
to the blue book printed by the Treviños, but continued
repeating their lines as they had been handed down pastor to pastor .
Newcomers were welcome to bring lines from other pastorelas ,
and circumstances--such as Elizondo's child wanting to perform
or a player who did not know his part--brought new lines, actions,
and even roles to the play.
But when the newcomers became these older men's educated grandchildren
who read and respected the written word, Tranchese's published
book came into its own. Young players now learn their lines
from “the book,” but the new Little Devil, whose role does
not exist in the book, still must learn the “old way.” Elizondo
and other directors teach him verbally, helped with hand scribbled
notes. In this way the evolving tradition of Los Pastores ,
documented with detail and personal care by Mary Ann Smothers
Bruni, has survived and continues in 21 st Century San Antonio.
“People do not know the real meaning of Christmas, especially
the children. We need to keep our traditions alive, to educate
our children in these traditions.”
--Victor David Elizondo, from Los Pastores: History and
Performance in the Mexican Shepherd's Play of South Texas by
Dr. Richard Flores
Click for sound excerpt