Hurley Fourth-Graders Take on the Classic Bilingual Play "Too Many Tamales"

La Puente fourth-graders take on the classic bilingual play ‘Too Many Tamales'

Hurley Elementary fourth graders perform “Too Many Tamales/Que Monton de Tamales” at their La Puente school Friday night, December 13, 2013. Sarah Reingewirtz — Staff photographer
Anthony Pobian and Kimberly Sanabria, both 9, play the part of Abuelita Mary and Abuelito Frankie at Hurley Elementary school in La Puente in “Too Many Tamales/Que Monton de Tamales.”Sarah Reingewirtz — Staff photographer

A group of fourth-graders at Hurley Elementary in La Puente helped people get in the holiday spirit last Friday evening.

The small group of students presented the bilingual play, “Too Many Tamales/Un Monton de Tamales,” at the school for friends, family, and community members.

The play, based on a children’s book by Gary Soto, is set on Christmas Eve when a young Maria realizes she misplaced her mother’s wedding ring while helping prepare masa for the tamales.

“They were so excited,” said third-grade teacher Dolores Gonzalez.

Gonzalez worked with the small group of fourth-graders from three different classes, including one bilingual class, after school for over a month.

Nine students played the main characters while there were a few understudies and even a couple students helping to narrate and run the backstage and lights. Parents and teachers also helped out during the production.

The story has Maria thinking the ring is in the cooked tamales, Maria recruits her cousins over for Christmas Eve dinner to eat the whole batch of tamales to find the ring.

“I like acting and singing,” said 9-year-old Perla Perez who plays one of the cousins.

The fourth-grader said she took part in the play Gonzalez put on last year. Gonzalez has given her extra time to put on a play at the school towards the end of the school year. This year is the first she put on a play for the holidays.

“Most of the kids know the story (of Too Many Tamales),” said Gonzalez. “And it’s relatable to the community.”

After filling up on tamales, Maria finally confesses and finds that her mother had already found the ring before the tamales were cooked, learning a valuable lesson.

“I like when the cousins eat the tamales,” said 9-year-old Marylu Alvarez who plays one of the aunts, Tia Rosa, over for Christmas Eve dinner.

The group also performed a few scenes for the rest of the students during two assemblies.

The character actors, understudies and narrators joined together for a holiday song at the end of the play.


Claudia Palma

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