Art should be a tool used every day by everyone, according to actor Cesar Melendez, who performed in “La Fiesta de Margarita” during Caravana Tica in Samara on Friday June 21, interpreting five different characters—from a poor Nicaraguan mourning the loss of his three-legged dog to a Mexican womanizer conquering the ladies with his mustache— to promote messages such as compassion, cultural acceptance and caring for the environment.
The purpose of Caravana Tica, according to Melendez, is “to go to communities where there is little or no access to the arts and try to transform the place.” Thus the Samara community hall was transformed into a theater open and free to the public for two days, June 21 and 22, complete with colored lights and smoke. “These details help the magic, the fantasy,” he explained.
About 200 attended the main theatrical show on Friday night, which started around 8:30 p.m. and lasted until about 11:30 p.m. Melendez said the spectacle normally lasts 1 hour and 50 minutes if the public doesn’t play along, but due to strong audience participation, including dancing, the performance continued. He explained that the interactive concept allows people to reclaim their childhood through the arts and thereby become “a more integral human being”.
Other events— such as the musical presentation of Milo Corrales, local children’s ballet and folkloric dance performances and another theatrical presentation by actress Grettel Cedeño, had attendances of around 50 to 75 people. In addition, workshops were held on quality of life and sustainable development for tourism, with groups limited to 15-20 people, and children made foam puppets.
For Marco Campos Campos, project coordinator for the Samara Chamber of Tourism (CASATUR) who helped organize the event, the attendance was “perfect.” However, previous editions of Caravana Tica held in Tortuguero in 2011 and in Rincon de la Vieja in 2012 had participation of some 2000 people.
Assessing this, Melendez commented that he believes more of these types of events need to be held in Samara to change the perception that the arts is for people with resources so that more people make the decision to participate. He also noted that most who attended were women or children and encourages entire families, including men, to enjoy such activities together. “It’s beautiful to see dad and mom laughing at the same thing,” he noted.
Caravana Tica, an initiative of Ecole Travel, promotes art and culture by bringing a caravan of artists, performers and professionals from San Jose, while at the same time featuring local talents. This year, Samara was chosen because of the community’s commitment to sustainability, according to Jackeline Chacon, sustainability manager for Ecole Travel.
The event took about five months to organize, according to Campos, noting that in addition to CASATUR, many other community groups supported the effort, including the Samara Progressive Association, (APROSA), the Catholic Church, CREAR, Intercultura and the Municipality of Nicoya. The mayor’s office provided 500,000 colones ($1000) to support the event, although no one from the municipality attended.