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Nine Plays by José Cruz González

Nine Plays by José Cruz González
Magical Realism and Mature Themes in Theatre for Young Audiences

An anthology of multicultural plays by one of the most important writers in the world of theatre for children.

Series: Louann Atkins Temple Women and Culture Endowment

October 2008
This book is out of print and no longer available.
347 pages | 6 x 9 | 69 b&w illus. |

In today's multicultural world there is an urgent need for more plays and books that represent a diverse array of ethnic groups. Theatre and book critics, scholars, and theatre professionals have long campaigned for a broader representation of minorities in book and play publishing.

In this anthology, renowned theatre expert Coleman A. Jennings has compiled a selection of plays by José Cruz González that meets these multicultural demands head-on. González is a foremost voice in theatre for children and youth whose plays address themes, often through imaginary lands and extraordinary characters, faced by children in their everyday lives.

Born to migrant workers in Calexico, California, in 1957, González learned at a young age how to tap into the vast world of his imagination. From his grandfather, who would regale the family with stories and riddles as they worked on the farm, he learned the power of storytelling. He spent afternoons, weekends, and summers working in the fields, so it is no surprise that his plays are strongly tied to the natural world. His use of magical realism has become one of his trademarks.

The nine plays in this anthology were thoughtfully collected and will go far to fill the multicultural gap in the world of theatre for children.


Distinguished Book Award
American Alliance for Theatre & Education

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Biography
  • Bibliography of Plays
  • Collaborative Creation: Responses from Corey Madden, David Saar, J. Richard Smith, and Graham Whitehead
  • The Playwriting of José Cruz González, by Susan Vaneta Mason
  • Considering the Design Process
  • The Plays
    • The Magic Rainforest—An Amazon Journey
    • Two Donuts
    • Marisol's Christmas
    • Tomás and the Library Lady
    • Watermelon Kisses
    • Old Jake's Skirts
    • Lily Plants a Garden
    • Salt & Pepper
    • The Highest Heaven

Coleman A. Jennings is Jesse H. Jones Regents Professor in Fine Arts in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a leading authority on theatre for young audiences and editor of eight anthologies of plays that represent the major works of America's foremost playwrights.


The purpose of this anthology is not only to share nine plays by an extraordinarily talented playwright, but also to document his creative process as evidenced through his collaboration with other theatre artists. José Cruz González's diverse creative practices are made evident in the following biographical sketch of the playwright; Susan Mason's essay, in which she connects his personal outlook and experiences to the development of specific plays; and, finally, comments from his fellow theatre artists about their work with him.


Significant theatre is the result of creative collaboration between playwright, dramaturg, designers, director, and actors. The section titled "Collaborative Creation" is a collection of responses from theatre artists Corey Madden, David Saar, J. Richard Smith, and Graham Whitehead about their experiences in working with González on the development of new scripts for young audiences.


In the section "Considering the Design Process," the progression of González's play development as it affects production and as production affects the script is elucidated by designer J. Richard Smith, who demonstrates his own creative process through his comments and preliminary working sketches of settings for each of the nine plays of the collection.


The plays of magical realism and mature themes presented in this volume are the product of José Cruz González's imagination, playwriting ability, humanity, understanding and appreciation of the child audience, and enthusiastic collaboration with other theatre professionals, as you will learn within this collection.