"Severed Roots," a historical drama by Manuel Jose Pickett and Sam Rios, deals with the first contacts between Mayans and Spanish explorers on the Yucatán Peninsula.
In 1511, Spaniard Gonzalo Guerrero, shipwrecked sailor, soldier and adventurer, and Geronimo de Aguilar, a young priest, were captured by a Mayan tribe but escaped, only to become slaves of another tribe.
Guerrero taught what he knew to his captors, becoming a chief and marrying the wealthy princess Zazil Ha. Their children were the first mestizos, or Mexicans.
Aguilar, who had become fluent in Mayan, eventually joined with Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and served as a translator during the 1519 Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Guerrero's legacy has had twists and turns, but he now is celebrated for embracing the Mayan culture and contributing to its preservation.
Performances of the Teatro Espejo production continue at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 9. At California Stage, 25th and R streets. Tickets are $20 and $15. For information, call (916) 278-7303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A festival of Durang
Ovation Stage artistic director Penny Kline launches her new company with a droll bit of theater business called "A Christopher Durang Festival." Should you want know how droll, go to Durang's website and click on Liv Ullmann having a nervous breakdown to enter the site. Or better yet, check out some of his plays in performance here.
Durang's satires such as "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls," "Beyond Therapy" and "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" have a dark, angry edge yet still somehow maintain a comedic sensibility. Kline has put together two programs using some of Durang's best work, with the productions up through Sept. 9. Katie Dahl, Maggie Adair Upton, Robin Henson and Michele Koehler direct.
Evening 1: "Naomi in the Living Room," "Actor's Nightmare," "Nina in the Morning" and "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You" play at 8 p.m. Saturday, Thursday and Sept. 8.
Evening 2: "Mrs. Sorken" and "Baby With the Bathwater" play at 8 tonight and Sept. 7 and 2 p.m. Sunday and Sept. 9.
At the Three Penny Theatre, R25 Arts Complex (25th and R streets). Tickets: $13-$15. For information call (916) 448-0312 or go to www.ovationstage.com.
Blue moon show
The excellent pianist, accordionist and songwriter Richie Lawrence brings his band the Yolos to Beatnik Studios tonight for a special "blue moon" show. It's also something of an album release show for his latest CD, a bluesy, swampy, old- timey elegy to the life force we call "Water."
Lawrence's band includes Scott Prawalsky on bass, Katie Thomas on vocals, Bart van der Zeeuw on drums and Keith Cary on slide guitar and mandolin. Lawrence's pals Matt Lax and Nearly Beloved from San Francisco will open the show. All bar proceeds benefit Verge Center for the Arts.
At Beatnik Studios, 2421 17th St., Sacramento. Artist reception 6-9 p.m., music 9 p.m. to midnight. Call (916) 443-5808 for ticket prices.