One of the most rewarding things that I did on my latest trip to the Yucatan was attend the Teatro Indígena in the small village of Ticopó near the colonial city of Mérida. While the Yucatan’s spectacular ruined cities such as Chichén Itzá and Uxmal offer glimpses of the ancient Maya world, the Indigenous Theater shows what life is like today in Maya communities. This weekly presentation takes place in a natural outdoor setting made to look like a typical Maya village and involves 470 people ranging in age from four to over 90 years old. More than simply acting, the performance is an invitation to take part in the daily life of the Maya. The participants, all of whom come from surrounding villages, combine humor, play, religious rituals, and traditional dances to produce a moving tribute to a people who have endured on the Yucatan Peninsula for over 2,600 years.
The Teatro Indigena (Indigenous Theater) is in the village of Ticopó at Kilometer 21 on the Mérida-Cancun highway. Shows are given every Saturday at 5 p.m. (4 p.m. in the winter). Admission is about US$10.00 (120 pesos) at the box office. Handicrafts and traditional Maya snacks are sold at stands lining the path to the theater area.