Teatro de los Insurgentes

Theater San José Insurgentes
4 out of 5 stars
Teatro de los Insurgentes
Mariani Figueiredo

Since its inception in 1950, this venue was aligned against the established: the small and colonial theaters. For this reason, creator José María Dávila, who was a writer and politician, bet everything he had to turn this into the largest theater in Mexico, made specifically for the middle class.

With a budget of 350K pesos, the construction was entrusted to architect Alejandro Prieto, and finished by 1953. The stage measures 15 x 15 meters and has a rotating disk that’s nine meters in diameter. The stage premiered on April 30 of the same year with the play Yo, Colón, starring Mario Moreno, better known as "Cantinflas".

Said character not only had the privilege of inaugurating this venue but was immortalized in the mural created by Diego Rivera himself on the theater’s facade. This emblematic piece, which gives identity to the place, was created with glass mosaics and portrays the history of Mexico in two parts: the left side is dedicated to Mexican Independence and the wealthy classes (capitalist, military and clergy) that are represented by the work Carlota and Maximiliano in Miramar, by Rodolfo Usigli. On the right side the homeless are portrayed and the Mexican Revolution is alluded to. Again, hinting at Usigli, but with a fragment of the piece, El Gesticulador.

It is curious that these two stories are bridged by the Cantinflas, at the center of the mural. In the mural, the comedian finds himself receiving money from the upper class to give it to the lower class, like Robin Hood.

Legend has it that during the sketching of the mural, Mario Moreno wore a pendant of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Immediately, the religious community complained as, in those days, "it was blasphemous to connect something as low as a comedy character with something as sacred as the Virgin," according to Rivera's statement, quoted in the story that the theater publishes in its official website.

That is why the complaints from Archbishop Luis María Martinez, as well as those of the National Action Party, were lodged. To avoid further trouble, the Mexican muralist decided to swap the image of the Virgen for the basilica of Tepeyac, which serves as a backdrop behind Cantinflas.

The marquee hasn’t been restored since 1994 and has featured works of all kinds. rediscovered. The space is segmented into rooms, each filled with items like wooden cabinets from the 20s, original paintings possibly from the Romance period, lamps, chandeliers, chairs, trunks, pictures, manuscripts from anonymous authors, and even stuffed animals.

All the articles come from different collections that are about to be discarded. Our favorite? A globe that can be seen from the window that faces the street. Here, in this city secret, you will find editions of great classics of literature, such as Les Misérables. Moviegoers will be delighted to discover 35mm projectors and old film canisters.

Warning: you must take into account that these are very rare objects, so the prices are not so accessible. However, think of it as an investment because, more than an object, you are buying a story.

By: Time Out México


Venue name: Teatro de los Insurgentes
Address: Insurgentes 1587
San José Insurgentes
Mexico City
Transport: Metrobús Teatro de los Insurgentes. Metro Barranca del Muerto.
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