Vegetarian Elite
 
Costa Rica’s Cesar Melendez & Cristina Bruno: Saving the World through Theater and Veganism - (In Spanish)      
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Today’s Vegetarian Elite will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese(Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai.

Welcome noble viewers to our program Vegetarian Elite. Today we are pleased to introduce César Meléndez, an accomplished actor and author; and his wife, actress Cristina Bruno, whose works are always reflections on important social and spiritual matters. With their co-founded La Polea Theater, César and Cristina have traveled to perform throughout Central America and the United States, as well as several countries in Latin America and Europe.

The planet is shared with the trees, with plants, with minerals, animals, shared with the air, the rivers. I’ve had enough of all human beings trampling on the rights of the planet which are trampling on our near future. We are going to run out...

César Meléndez’s illustrious career spans film, television, music, and theater. He started professionally with music in the Dominican Republic, singing with icons like Grammy-nominated Wilfrido Vargas. Back in Costa Rica, César was a member of popular bands of the 1980s like Grupo Manantial. He then expanded his artistic repertoire into movies, where he participated in a major Hollywood production. César became one of Costa Rica’s most popular and beloved stars, acting in memorable roles on several television series.

But it seems César’s true calling, however, is in theater. He has demonstrated his talent in theater productions such as “Chronicles of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel García Márquez, and Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s’ House.” In theater, César is recognized not only as an actor, but also as a director and writer of several important works. Among them is the monologue “The Immigrant,” which has won major prizes in Costa Rica and internationally.

Within his busy work schedule, César has always found time to participate in many charitable events and awareness campaigns.

On several occasions, “The Immigrant” served as a fundraising event so that a cherished friend and colleague of the arts could receive a bone marrow transplant. Last year in 2010, he collaborated with Nicaraguan singer Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy in a music outreach project that exhibited the music of Costa Rica and neighboring Nicaragua.

In 2009, he served as moderator for the global event “2 Minutes to Change” in Costa Rica’s Plaza de la Cultura. READ: Organized by the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, it was held simultaneously in 22 countries on February 22nd to call attention to the urgency of climate change and the simple solution of veganism. The event coincided with Supreme Master Ching Hai Day as a tribute to her tireless devotion in bringing peace to the planet for all beings. It was at this event that César and Cristina decided to become fully vegan.

We are vegan thanks to you. Thanks to your participation in the (event in) Plaza de la Democracia, you started to interact with all this.

Yes, in the event that was called “2 Minutes for Change,” right? And prior to that we were working in this direction, but it really is fair to say that this marked a part of this process.

César reminisces on his youth growing up with animals.

There has been a preparation throughout my life due to a cultural reason from my Nicaraguan-born mom, dad, grandmas, to share one’s life along with animals. Always, for as long as I can remember. I was raised among chickens, among piglets, among puppies, among kittens, among little birds, among cows, among donkeys, among earthworms, among ants, among fleas, among everything. I don’t recall not having one moment in my life until this moment away from animals.

Cristina tells us a cute story of how she and César first met, and how their shared affection for animals was important in their courtship.

Three questions he asked me before inviting me out were: “Do you smoke?” I told him, “No, I have never smoked.” “Do you drink alcohol?” “No, I do not drink alcohol, I do not like alcohol.” “Do you like animals?” “Yes I love them,” I said. And then he asked me to go out.

Cristina had actually already been a vegetarian since she was 13 years old.

Actually I became vegetarian I think it was in ‘87 when Pope John Paul II visited Mexico. I was watching the live broadcast on television and a video they had made about the Pope on negative and the positive things until this present moment of humanity, all that had happened in humanity. And there was an image for a split of a moment; however, it changed my life since then. Quite simply, there was a man sitting with a calf at his side. The man just grabbed the calf’s neck and cut him “slash” with a knife, and the calf kicked around and fell down. That 30 second image convinced me that I had to stop eating meat.

For César, spiritual beliefs helped him to expand his heart and understanding to better embrace his love for animals.

In my story, since I was very young I had been informed, because my Nicaraguan grandfather who traveled to Costa Rica always had some inclination to study mysticism within the Rosicrucian movement at some point. As I had access to that information, I started studying Rosicrucianism, and one of the most interesting arguments that I liked and that opened the universe for my whole life, was the chance to study other cultures, other religions, and to be able to understand that the source is one, and beyond the source one can find the Truth by following a specific path. When I got close to Eastern teachings, I discovered a love for animals, let’s say the state of consciousness for the animals.

Cristina and César’s relationship blossomed through their common beliefs, ideals, and affinity. With one another’s mutual support, they decided to become vegan together.

Between the two of us, gradually we gave up meat completely. Because it’s been about 5 years? ( Like 5 years.) Five years ago that we became fully vegetarian.

It wasn’t that hard. There was just an agreement in our thinking, together of course with an inside study of the soul, of the development of the consciousness, to seek, to find inner communication with our inner being, doing the proper meditation to achieve the daily amount wisdom in accord to every moment of our life, until we arrived at this point. At this point in our life, through determination, we became vegan for the sake of our state of consciousness.

As a young boy, César’s parents fled Nicaragua to seek asylum for the family in Costa Rica. Through humble jobs and great sacrifice, they managed an honest living and were able to send him college. César exhibited promising artistic skills early on. Together, César and Cristina founded La Polea Theater Company in 1999 to explore human relationships in modern society and translate their findings into a theatrical language for presentations. The primary purpose is to raise funds for works relating to social welfare and for communities that have little or no access to art and cultural events.

Well, we’ve been all over America. We have presented, rotated our shows all around Central America, South America, North America; in Europe we have been in Spain, the Netherlands, France.

With Cristina as an actress and producer of their theater company La Polea, they travel to convey messages of love, compassion, and tolerance for all beings in their performances.

We are La Polea Theater.

We are La Polea Theater, yes, indeed. All this has been a process, which is really an excuse for us to be together. Prior to what is now known as La Polea Theater, Cristina was an independent actress and elementary school teacher, and I was also an independent theater actor, developing artistic and musical work. It’s a full project aiming to give art, to share art and culture in communities, especially in those where there is none, not much access or limited access or no access to allow (That the theater can access.) this possibility.

La Polea Theater presents a range of shows and creative supporting materials that foster a culture of peace within a framework of respect for the human condition, gender equality, ethnicity, religion, and belief. César’s major work “The Immigrant” touches on immigration and appreciating the diversity of cultures. In “Margarita’s Party,” he addresses the issue of climate change and the importance of respecting animals. And for “Flora,” the main focus is having a higher regard for women.

Our role as a theater group was considered from the beginning.

(Always, we always work for others.) Yes, always following an exercise in social, human, and animal responsibility. All of our projects are directed to raise funds for social good works for human or animal welfare. We have a project that we considered calling: “Exercise of social transformation.” What we try to do from our humble viewpoint is to enable self-management in each community that we visit.

As previously mentioned, César has been internationally recognized for his role in the monologue “The Immigrant,” or “El Nica,” which reflects on the life of an immigrant in Costa Rica. The issues presented, however, also occur in many other parts of the world.

There was a persisting problem for many years between Costa Rica and Nicaragua at the border, for example. Or at the cultural level, there is an encounter between cultures, there is an exercise of political and historical inclination that allowed many immigrants to come to Costa Rica from Nicaragua, etc. We understood that there was a responsibility to speak, Since I am from Nicaragua.

(And I’m also a foreigner.) Regarding the issues surrounding the environment, diet, respect for all living things, we also try to generate the same share of respect, having in mind those people in front of us who eat meat.

This charismatic actor who can fill theaters wherever he goes, offered a message to consider:

We are a part of the planet; and we are a micro-part that works in the big machinery supporting a planet that is alive. And each of us is a reason that generates life within this planet, and if there’s anything, if something is not working as it should, then the planet begins to react as it is reacting [now].

We invite you back April 16 for the second part of our interview with the charming couple, César Meléndez and Cristina Bruno. We will be treated to some of their special performances, and learn more about their inspiring stories on saving the world through theater and veganism.

For more information about César Meléndez, Cristina Bruno, and La Polea Theater Please visit: www.TeatroLaPolea.com or email: teatrolapolea@gmail.com

Cheerful viewers, thanks for joining us today on Vegetarian Elite Coming up now is Between Master and Disciples, here on Supreme Master Television. May love and laughter decorate your blessed paths in life. .
Today’s Vegetarian Elite will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai.

Our role as a theater group was considered from the beginning.

(Always, we always work for others.) Yes, always following an exercise in social, human, and animal responsibility.

On our previous program of Vegetarian Elite, we met the charismatic couple: César Meléndez, an accomplished actor and author; and his wife, actress Cristina Bruno, whose works are always reflections on important social and spiritual matters.

There is an intention on our part, that through each one of our shows the public has a chance to open their mind, their heart, their conscience, their reason, that they are giving an opportunity to compassion. (To humanity.)

César Meléndez’s illustrious career spans film, television, music, and theater. He started professionally with music in the Dominican Republic, singing with icons like Grammy-nominated Wilfrido Vargas. Back in Costa Rica, César was a member of popular bands of the 1980s like Grupo Manantial. He then expanded his artistic repertoire into movies, where he participated in a major Hollywood production. César became one of Costa Rica’s most popular and beloved stars, acting in memorable roles on several television series. But it seems César’s true calling, however, is in theater.

In theater, César is recognized not only as an actor, but also as a director and writer of several important works. Among them is the monologue “The Immigrant,” which has won major prizes in Costa Rica and internationally.

Together, César and Cristina founded La Polea Theater Company in 1999 to investigate human relationships in modern society and translate their findings into a theatrical language for presentations. The primary purpose is to raise funds for works relating to social welfare and for communities that have little or no access to art and cultural events.

Well, we’ve been all over America. We have presented, rotated our shows all around Central America, South America, North America; in Europe we have been in Spain, the Netherlands, France.

On today’s show, we see how César and Cristina have used their theatrical characters to convey a message, a message of great urgency.

We understand that each of the characters, each of the stories is a tool to open a window – just as we had the opportunity to discover some windows, just as we went through that experience to create other possibilities.

One of César’s characters in particular has created an effective bridge of communication with audience members. This character’s name is “Chito,” and he carries a baby cow toy on his back who was rescued when the calf’s mom was sent to be slaughtered. Throughout the plays and interaction with the crowd, Chito talks to his cow friend.

It generates tenderness for the audience. We discover the tenderness that this stuffed animal generates and the character’s treatment of him. Tenderness is a way, a communication channel through which information turns or passes over – it reaches more easily.

How is it possible that people want to eat such a beautiful little cow! Why don’t you grab your mother and eat her? (Nooo!) Well... Why?

“Margarita’s Party” is a fun and crowd-interactive musical comedy. The storyline revolves around a birthday party for Margarita.

It is a party to talk about identity. We decided on this show to talk about popular culture, the popular acoustic music of each of the places; to understand different topics of what has been, to understand what is being done, and to discover something about the future.

The characters in this situational comedy arrive at Margarita’s birthday party by chance – they include Chito who we met earlier, a car watchman or “Wachiman,” a mariachi singer, a calypso singer, a soccer fan, and a street band. In between their light and exaggerated humor, these characters touch on more serious topics like immigration, cultural barriers, poverty, eating habits, and animal rights.

We have made use of some popular musical resources in order to capture public attention. The messages behind them, behind each of the characters – if the public is kind enough to listen to them – are very direct, to hear, to assimilate, and of course, even to share.

Everyone here eats meat? (Nooo!) (No, right?) Surely not, of course not.

And I have heard also that some people say that shrimp is not an animal. (Why not? It is a beast!) No, no, some people believe that it is not an animal, then they eat it anyway, but it is an animal.

Interspersed through this musical comedy are images of planetary destruction and animal abuse played out on a large plasma screen.

In Margarita’s Party, what we propose is a visual contradiction. While he is singing and the people are having fun – cheering and singing, and whoever wants to dance, dances. And we have the characters that César plays, that could be the Limónese, the black guy from Limón Province, who sings calypso, etc. We have as contradiction on the big screens on both sides of the stage, where the drama takes place, images, strong ones.

To see if through music, through dramatic play, through art, through the images, the resources that allow the performing arts, visual arts, the musical arts, through color, through rhythm, through the form, the figure, we can communicate that it is possible to make a change. And yet, although we have little time, of course, we have an urgent change, but it is our responsibility to share this message.

Through the comedic characters who portray traditional cultural humor, everyday truths are conveyed and express an important message about the three fundamental issues of our time: the restoration of human values, respect toward animals, and climate change. In the play, the interaction is lively and the final message is clear: we must be vegan to save the planet.

We share historic images of the moment that we are living today and that we are presenting in the play. Images that are talking about the outrage that we are experiencing on the planet. All natural disasters, all the causes of global warming, what are some of the roots? We do not pay much attention, to be able to explain why the planet at this point is headed for where it is, and why perhaps we are facing a new period of glaciation, a new period (Catastrophes.) of elimination of the entire human race.

With a sincere devotion to offer audiences a memorable and meaningful show, all of César and Cristina’s performances leave a lasting impression.

Wonderful! I have no words to describe it. It’s great, there are simply no words. I think we should present many performances such as this one throughout the country, for people to become aware.
Be Veg,
Go Green
2 Save the Planet!

Through César and Cristina’s work and inspiration, many people – fans from afar, and the near and dear – have adopted kinder ways of eating and living.

As soon as you have the information, you want to share it with the people you love because you understand that it’s a good thing, and you want to preserve it, indeed, to ensure that information is preserved for as many people as possible, and hopefully be cultivated and hope that it grows. My mom is a vegetarian. And until very recently, when my dad had been in touch with our shows, our information, our way of life is what he has adopted and he also does it consciously.

And it is wonderful because my father has a mechanical workshop, and in this mechanical workshop, he also speaks out, he also shares the information. Because my dad came to me to ask, “So, where do I get more information?” And so my dad shares: SupremeMasterTV.com, so now my dad is immersed in the computer world.

Last year we had, my niece came here to visit, a niece who lives in Argentina, in Santa Fe – María José. And she was living with us a couple of days and we talked to her and César gave her information and so on. And she wrote a couple of months ago and said, “Titi, I became a vegetarian.” She became a vegetarian, while having a father who barbeques a lot. “And I am researching” and also sent the Supreme Master [TV] address and all, and that is a great achievement for us.

The reactions we’ve had, or the audience has had so far in our shows, are wonderful. Through our performances we can say, we can share information that to start with, we believe is important to share. And this is information we may not find in the mass media.

Some people have the kindness to share what they think at the end of the show, either because they come to us, or because they write to us, (mail) to our e-mail, or because sometime later they come and approach and tell us after the show that, “We saw Margarita’s Party. We are considering, or we stopped eating meat, or we are considering even giving up fish.” It has generated a particular effect, very important.

In fact, yes, though it’s hard, because it’s true one likes meat, there are people who are vegetarian. But in reality, if it is all for the sake of animals, I think it is fair to make a change.
Be Veg,
Go Green
2 Save the Planet!

César and Cristina have requested our Association members to accompany them to deliver important information on climate change and to share tasty vegan cuisine with the audience. As someone who is admired, respected, and beloved by the public, people are often curious to know what César is eating as a vegan.

But now it is very interesting because in the communities they ask us. (Yes.) Or I don’t know if there was like some kind of awakening.

Well, of course. In some maybe mass media, they have asked us, “And what do you eat?” or whatever, or we say, “No, we’re vegetarians, we are vegans.”

It’s very interesting because people ask us, “You are vegetarian” or “Do you eat anything?” Communities already ask us, so we can say, (Of course, now even.) “We do not eat anything that comes from an animal.”

Of course, and it’s a wonderful opportunity because it is necessarily a point of discussion when we are at the table.

And all this helps us, of course, in the creative process, or to incorporate things in our work, in the plays.

There is a great responsibility from that point of view because we are creators, we have studied to make art, theatrical art, television art. We studied to share art and culture, as if life was already pointing us this way.

We already had shows which we were trying to talk about animal rights, nature’s rights, the respect for the human condition beyond what others do with me, but what I am doing with myself.

We understand what is the role and responsibility of our artistic work, that’s why we have developed shows that necessarily talk about this condition. Even shows that we have been using for 10 years, we made the necessary modifications (We transform them.) to take advantage of the stage, live, in front of 400, 800, 1000, 200 people, the audience that come to see our shows. Out of some corner, appears some element that talks about animal rights, about climate change, about a proposal of changing eating habits. (Nutrition.) Right, we need to change to a different diet.

Sure, we would be happy if we did not have to do the shows anymore. We would be happy if we wouldn’t have to do Margarita’s Party. (Happy in good sense, of course, yes.) Sure, right, because…
Of course because people would say, “We no longer need them because they get it.”
“They are talking about things that are no longer…”
“We are already compassionate, and we are tolerant.”
“People respect animals, no one eats meat in the world.”
“There are no climate problems.”

Well, as a last message maybe we can tell people that we really appreciate the people who have taken us through these paths and that we have a great responsibility to share that gratefulness with more people because from this experience we learned a path which we understand is right and is important. But above all, it’s urgent. There is not much time to do it, and through our shows, people who are kind enough to join us will find these ingredients. So as a last reflection, we would like to share the message that appears in our shows, (In all.) in all shows, yes. (On the screen.)

Be Veg,
Go Green, 2…
Save the Planet!

In Central American language, Nicaraguan: Be Vegan, you hear? Go Green, brother. Why? To Save this Planet!

We thank César Melendez and Cristina Bruno for delivering messages of love, compassion, and respect beyond all boundaries through their collaboration in art. May Heaven bless you both evermore with creative inspiration to touch hearts and transform lives through laughter and light.

For more information about César Meléndez, Cristina Bruno, and La Polea Theater Please visit: www.TeatroLaPolea.com or email: teatrolapolea@gmail.com

We have enjoyed your company today, precious viewers, on Vegetarian Elite. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Between Master and Disciples, coming up now. Blessed be all inhabitants of our beautiful community called Earth, so that we may learn to appreciate one another in peace, harmony, and happiness.



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