San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Play Unites Breast Cancer, Coffee-Picking Themes

A new play, “Baile el Capital,” shows that coffee pickers have more than just beans on their minds. A group of women and their children with whom the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation works in La Carpio, one of the poorest shantytowns in the San José area (see story on Page W1), recently presented the play to an audience of Global College students and members of the English-language Little Theatre Group.

The play was written by Stephen Hawkins of GlobalCollege in Heredia, north of the capital, and co-directed by Hawkins and Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation founder Gail Nystrom.

Intended to educate women about breast cancer, the play takes a clever twist in having its lead protagonist pay no attention to health issues, preferring coffee-picking to caring for her children or even sending them to school.

Next month, the group plans to present the play to an audience of coffee-picking women in the northwestern Central Valley town of Naranjo. They plan to run it twice, first in its entirety and then again, stopping after scenes to ask the audience how the protagonist ought to respond and how she can improve her life and better cope with work, child care and health issues, especially breast cancer.

Asked if they enjoyed the process, Francela Alfaro, acting as spokeswoman for the group, said it took four months to get it together, and at one time they despaired of ever pulling it off. Nystrom added that the women turned it around when she and Hawkins stepped out of the picture and let the women run it themselves. They managed to create time for rehearsals, add and delete text and learn their lines. Now, Alfaro said, they’re “ready for Hollywood!”

The exact date and location of the presentation in Naranjo should be set soon; for details, contact Nystrom at 8390-4192 or


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