Feature: ‘Pulga Nation’ takes comedic look at flea market culture

Teatro Vivo Presents The Mexcentrics in Pulga Nation at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.

The pulga, or flea market, may seem unworthy to many, as it is a place where people go to find the cheapest products, but it has been seen as a worthy setting to writers Omar Gallaga and Raul Garza, who made it the centerpiece of their upcoming comedy, Pulga Nation.

This is the first show Teatro Vivo will be presenting this year, as well as the first  comedy performance they will be hosting with Mexcentrics. Live performances will take place March 7 to 9 at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.

Mexcentrics is a new project that Teatro Vivo has started by assembling a new team of performers, writers and technical artists who will be focusing on comedy.

“This is the first show of a new group of actors and writers,” Gallaga said. “Some of us have worked together before. Some of the actors that are in the show I’ve never even met before so we have auditions and I run into new actors.”

Gallaga and Garza are two of the new writers for Mexcentrics. Both previously worked for the Latino Comedy Project, or LCP, before coming to work with Teatro Vivo.

“I was with LCP for over 10 years and it was a big challenge to write for people that I don’t know yet, to people that I knew really well so I’m very curious to see how it turns out and we’re launching a whole new thing,” Gallaga said. “It’s sketch comedy; it’s a little bit more raw and a little bit more adult humor than most Teatro shows.”

The comedy show is set at the pulga, which is a place where many Latinos gather not just to find great bargains, but also to socialize and share their stories. Gallaga and Garza saw an opportunity to create a melting pot for many characters and stories, as well as a lot of laughs.

“When we hit on the location of a pulga, we thought we could tell all these stories in this location and have all these different characters that sort of crisscross,” Gallaga said. “It just seemed to be a really good setting that none of us had ever really written about before.”

The show is meant to be enjoyed by all cultures, and not just Latinos, according to Gallaga.

“It’s 99 percent English, and the Spanish that’s in the show is pretty bilingual,” Gallaga said. “It’s not just meant to be for Latino audiences. We hope other people will come too. It’s exciting to see how it turns out, how people respond to it, and whether people laugh—that’ll be the biggest factor to see whether people enjoy it.”

Starting March 7 and running through March 9, Teatro Vivo will be presenting the Mexentrics in Pulga Nation at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre located on 2803 Manor Rd. Performances will Thursdays through Saturdays, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., at the Salvage Vanguard Theater. Admission is $10. There will be an opening act by Shades of Brown, a Latino improv comedy group that has been performing together since 2010. The show is being advertised for adult audiences.

Estefania de Leon

Estefania was born and raised a true Austinite. She graduated from Crockett High School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Courier for three years, and is currently studying journalism at the University of Texas. She enjoys blogging, photography, and anything Owl City.

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