Oh, what a year.
From a bruising campaign, Standing Rock, the rise of hate crimes. The list goes on.
We need some lighter moments.
Enter Borderlands Theater’s family-friendly “Pastorela.”
The annual production tells the story of the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem to visit the new-born baby Jesus.
Lucifer wants to stop that and brings along Satan and Wrath to help.
Pastorelas hearken back to the 15th century and are considered Mexico’s most popular form of theater — the country has more than 2,500 of them performed this time of year. All locally produced.
Some things never change about them: The traditional story of the trek to Bethlehem is there and told in rhyme, and there are stock characters, such as the devils, the lazy shepherd, the archangel, the shepherd’s dog.
But in each production, topical events and in-the-news characters are inserted. Much of the fun is to see which public figure is represented in what way.
In 2004, for instance, Lucifer was in the guise of Donald Trump. In 2002, it was U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin — well, the characters, not the actual people — have shown up.
Issues that impact us locally and nationally, and plenty of pop culture, are also woven in.
But the overriding message is this: Like the shepherds, we all face obstacles, but if we keep focused on the goal, we’ll get there.
In keeping with the season, while the satire is heavy, it is never mean-spirited.
And best of all, Borderlands will make us laugh. And sing. And be sung to — hearing “Silent Night” in Spanish is, well, heavenly.
Milta Ortiz wrote the script this year, and Katherine Monberg directs.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 11 at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $10-$23.50 at borderlandstheater.org or 882-7406.