The Teatro de los Insurgentes is a major landmark on the avenue of the same name. Technically in the colonia San José Insurgentes, it’s been a center for performing arts for some 70 years.
Perhaps most obviously, the theater is famous for the giant mural by Diego Rivera that adorns the façade. At 46 by 10 meters, the work was completed in 1953, in time for the opening performance. (It was actually removed for restoration in 2008 and then re-installed.)
The mural is rather famously untitled. It gets referred to most often as Teatro de la historia de México (Theater of the History of Mexico), but it mostly depends on who’s writing about it at the time. The work depicts drama as a mask, a sun, and a moon. Near the top, Cantinflas takes money from the rich to give to the poor, a la Robin Hood. The work is a tribute to the world, especially the 20th-century world, of Mexican theater.
The theater came to be during the administration of President Miguel Alemán (1946-1952) under an early plan for urban revitalization. The architect who designed it, Alejandro Prieto, had a life long interest in combining architectural works with painting, sculpture and illustrative works. Among his early works was also the theater at the Unidad Independencia.
The Teatro de los Insurgentes opened with a play, Yo Colón by Alfredo Robledo and Carlos León. It starred Cantinflas playing the statue of Christopher Columbus originally on the Paseo de la Reforma, and recently moved to the Parque de las Americas.
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