Stories of good triumphing over evil have circulated through generations from the first days of mankind. In The Hero Twins, Boxtales Theatre Company retells the ancient Maya story of how the title characters defeated the Lords of Xibalba (the underworld). In this revolutionary retelling of a classic good-versus-evil myth, Boxtales not only intertwined mediums such as music, masks, and shadow puppetry; the players also seamlessly blended the English and Spanish languages to excellent effect.
From the reaction of the audience, which had quite an age range, it was apparent that Boxtales brought the story of the Hero Twins to life in a creative and engaging way. The littlest ones never lost interest as Marie Ponce, who served as the narrator and played several characters, held their attention with questions, gestures, and music/sound effects. As a mosquito, she even buzzed around the audience. Michael Andrews and Matt Tavianini, too, captured the eyes of the young ones as they took on distinct characters, often two or three at a time. With each mask they donned, a new character arose with his or her own distinctive voice and movements. The older audience members were also wrapped up in the story; through the actors’ dramatic tension and timing and their animated presence, not a single head turned away from the stage during the hour-long performance.
This ancient Maya story was a wonder to watch because it also provided origin stories for many of the animals we see today. For example, this story gives an explanation as to why the mosquito can suck blood or why the rat’s tail is hairless. But the journey of the clever and selfless Hero Twins, Jaguar Deer and Hunter (Tavianini), was what captivated the audience, and Boxtales brought it to life so that it was just as thrilling as any modern-day superhero story.