Edmonton, AB

April 19 & 20 2023


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Empeños / Trials

Empeños is a free adaptation of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's Los empeños de una casa. Coming to U of A and MacEwan from Mexico City! No tickets needed, limited seating on a first come, first serve basis.

April 19 2:00pm: Show at University of Alberta, Corner Stage, 2nd floor of Fine Arts Building

Bonus: Post-show panel featuring Dr. Odile Cisneros, Dr. Ann de Leon & Dr. Stefano Muneroni (UofA )and Dr. Erin Cowling (MacEwan) on the Life and Work of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

April 20 4:30pm: Show at MacEwan, Allard Hall near Round House (main floor, to the right of the maindoors)

Bonus: Talk back after the show with actors and students involved in the production

Empeños tells the story of four travelers, played by Lizeth Rondero, Montserrat Angeles, Fernando Villa Proal and Galo Balcazar, who are left in the middle of a train platform with many strangers. When they notice the train isn't departing, they decide to pass the time by telling a story composed by a singer who's doing all the sounds, a teacher reciting the texts, and two actors that will play each character from the play in total silence, so as to not ruin the teacher's storytelling.

Together they perform Trials of a House by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. This adaptation emerged thanks to the collaboration between Efe Tres Theatre and Dr. Erin Cowling from the MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. The adaptation of the classic text was a High Impact Practice for the Spanish 341 class students at MacEwan, who translated the original Spanish text into more modern English subtitles. Efe Tres Teatro invited the company Teatro de los Sotanos into their international co-production and received aid funds from "Just in Time", from the faculty of Arts & Sciences, MacEwan for a digital short in 2021. 

The partnership between both companies is essential, due to both bringing specialized talents, and being willing to accomplish; from an artistic point of view, a virtuous montage of the production in an organic and playful way. Working together, the companies have achieved an original project, rich in content and form. Efe Tres Theatre brings the dramatic resources and actors versed in playing multiple roles, while Teatro de los Sotanos specializes in musical narratives with social/political content, in addition to both vocal and acting virtuosity of the performers. The project dates back to July 2021, when the play presented a "work in progress" at the annual Association for Hispanic Classical Theatre Symposium, which was carried out virtually, at the 44th Almagro's International Festival of Classic Theater, with two open rehearsals to the public on the esplanade of the CCU Teatro UNAM in March 2022. The play will take place in Alberta, Canada; thanks to the incentive from the "System of Supports for Creation and Cultural Projects" (Sistema de Apoyos a la Creación y Proyectos Culturales or SACPC) and a SSHRC Internal Grant awarded to Dr. Cowling by the Office of Research Services of MacEwan University.

Cast Biographies

Montserrat Ángeles Peralta 

Montserrat Ángeles Peralta is a Mexican actress who studied in "Escuela Nacional de Arte Teatral" in Mexico and also studied a Master's Degree in "Universidad de Lleida" in Spain. She has more than 22 years of experience in Theater and started in Movies under the direction of Sebastian Hiriart in "A Tiro de Piedra", and a series directed by Juan José Campanella.

As an actress, she has worked in Theatre, Cabaret, Movies, Television, Circus, Musicals and different artistic interventions in public spaces. She has presented her work to public audiences in Ecuador, Chile, Brasil, Argentina, United States, Spain, and all around Mexico.

Fernando Villa Proal

Artistic Director at the MX International Classic Theater Festival, founding member of the theater company EFE Tres Teatro and member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, NYC. As an actor and/or director, he has participated in more than 35 plays, appearing on the most prestigious stages in Mexico, as well as in cities around the world such as Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mallorca, Frankfurt, Mühlberg, New York and Los Angeles. Working from physical comedy to realism and from theater for young audiences to improvisation. Some of his most representative works are: El Príncipe Ynocente, ¿Qué con Quique V? and El Merolico: Bululuados Hors d'oeuvres; EFE Tres Teatro productions.

Lizeth Rondero

Actress graduated with honors from the Dramatic Literature and Theater (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) career, she has worked in more than 35 productions and operas for children, diversifying her work as an actress, singer, producer and director. Twice scholarship holder of the Stage Creators program (FONCA 2008 and 2016). Co-artistic director and founder of the Teatro de los Sótanos company, a group that has been awarded numerous scholarships and support from national and international programs. She has been part of international companies such as Teatro Motus de Quebec and completed an artistic residency at the iconic off-off Broadway theater "La MaMa ETC" in New York. Her work has been presented in the United States, Europe, South America and Canada. With her solo show “For fear that we can sing free”, she has received recognition from both specialized critics and the public, being the winner of the 2022 Metro Awards, in the category of Best Cabaret Show and nominated twice for the 2019 ACPT Awards. 

Galo Balcázar

From a very young age he studied singing and music at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México where he participated in several operas and recitals as a soloist and choralist to later consolidate himself as a bass-baritone at the Schola Cantorum in Mexico.

From the opera he discovered his taste for the stage and, especially, for the theater, an area in which he has not stopped training (Acting, stage voice, Speech articulation, Linklater, RoyHart, COSART, conducting, locution, sports columnist, acting for singers and singing for actors, IMPRO theatrical improvisation, corporal expression, Mime for actors, Puppet Management, etc.).

Later he studied Communication Sciences at UNAM and, as a good communication specialist, he has done everything: from journalist to publicist, from scriptwriter to producer but, above all, he has worked in the use of the voice as an announcer, dubbing actor , conductor, characterizer, imitator, improviser, puppeteer and theater actor.

Producers & Assistants

Allan Flores 

(Executive Producer of EFE Tres)

Graduated from the University of London, Mexico City. In his short career he has collaborated on more than 50 face-to-face projects. He has participated in various international festivals in Argentina, Peru, Colombia, the United States and Spain; obtaining honorable mention at the Almagro International Festival. Founder of the company EFE Tres Teatro and the Association of Producers of Mexico. He also actively collaborates with the companies Por piedad teatro, Cabaret Misterio, Lobos Producciones and commands the projects of the leading actor Mario Iván Martínez. He recently created his company Voyeristas Producciones, focused on digital work, participating in recent months in more than 50 international digital projects.

Ana Lilia Herrera


Graduated from the University of London, Mexico City with a major in acting. In 2013 she worked at The Mexican Film Institute in the area of ​​international projects and events; That same year, she joined the EFE Tres Teatro company, as executive producer, in which they have staged the Golden Age. In 2017 she worked in the sociocultural area as a producer at the Chapultepec Sports Center. She recently participated in the staging Crónicas Anacrónicas of three rogues from New Spain, under the direction of maestro Antonio Algarra. Project invited to the Almagro Festival in Spain.

Felipe Rodríguez

(Executive Producer of  Teatro de los Sótanos)

Graduated with a degree in Dramatic Literature and Theater from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He received the Honorable Mention in the Gerardo Mancebo del Castillo National Young Dramaturgy Award 2011. Scholarship holder of the Stage Creators Program (FONCA 2017). He is co-artistic director and founder of the Teatro de los Sótanos company, a group that has been awarded numerous scholarships and support from national and international programs. He has more than 30 productions combining his work as a playwright, actor, director and producer. As a playwright, he has premiered seven plays (four of which are written for Teatro Cabaret) and four plays published by TIERRA ADENTRO / CONACULTA. In 2017, the work of his authorship WE LEAVE THE SEA AND DREAM THE WORLD, received the award for "Best Theater for Children and Adolescents" by the ACPT. The work of his authorship FOR FEAR THAT WE SING FREE, was the winner of the 2022 Metro Awards, in the category of Best Cabaret Show and twice nominated for the 2019 ACPT Awards.

Isaías Avilés 

(Assistant director and production coordinator of Teatro de los Sótanos)

Actor, director, producer and presenter, he studied at the School of Dramatic Literature and Theater at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Since 2002 he has participated in various festivals and performances. He has participated in multiple productions at a professional level, beginning his career with the production of "BerrRRinche", under the direction of Heléne Ducharme (Motus Theater of Quebec), playing the role of assistant director, at the 2012 National Theater Showcase. As a producer The executive began his professional career with the "First Tica FEST-Teatro Universitario", an initiative of his and his own company Zapatoches Teatro, dedicated to puppet theater and which he founded in 2011. He is an announcer and producer of the Radio Drama program, currently with broadcasts on Live Radio Mexico. He is a member of the companies Ethos11 corporative artistic, La teatrera solitaria, and Teatro de los Sótanos, in the areas of production and technical assistance.

Violeta “Violeta” García (Costume Design)

Graduated from the INBA School of Design, with studies in fashion theory, makeup and illustration from institutions such as MoMa, IDIP and ENAP. She has designed for works located in the period of the Spanish Golden Age both in the independent theater and with the National Theater Company. She has participated in more than 10 national and international festivals such as the Almagro International Classical Theater Festival, Castillo de Niebla Theater and Dance Festival, Cervantino International Festival, and FILIC among others.


Una versión libre de Los empeños de una casa de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Créditos generales:  

Concepto escénico: Fernando Villa Proal y Lizeth Rondero 

Adaptación del texto de Sor Juana: Erin Cowling y Fernando Villa Proal con Ana Rodas Garza y Daniela Villa Orozco. 

Diseño de vestuario, utilería y atrezzo: Violeta “Violeta” García.

Diseño y realización de escenografía: Pitaya Teatro.

Diseño Gráfico: Petrushka Sainz.

Asistente general: Ana Lilia Herrera.

Asistente de dirección: Isaías Avilés.

Productores ejecutivos: Allan Flores y Felipe Rodríguez.

Créditos generales de Teatro de los Sótanos:

Coordinador de producción y productor ejecutivo: Isaías Avilés.

Coordinador de programación artística, promotor cultural y gestor: Enrique González.

Relaciones públicas y prensa: Pop Comunicación (Corina Rojas Caudillo y Jaime Rocha)

Programa de servicio social de Teatro de los Sótanos: Joana Soto (asistente de difusión), Magali Vega (asistente de redes sociales), Ailin García, Dayana López y Alyson Zurita (asistentes generales), y Sonia Díaz (asistente de producción).

Diseño de contenido de redes sociales: Viridiana Mistral.

Dirección artística y general: Lizeth Rondero y Felipe Rodríguez.

Producción: Efe Tres Teatro, Teatro de los Sótanos y Dra. Erin Cowling a través de MacEwan University.

Proyecto apoyado por el Sistema de Apoyos a la Creación y Proyectos Culturales y la Office of Research Services, MacEwan University.