In the Spotlife: Hugo Jon Sayles of 'I Don't Speak English Only'

Hugo Jon Sayles. Su Teatro

Don Guillermo Aztlán in ‘La Carpa Aztlán Presents: I Don’t Speak English Only,’ playing through Oct. 28 at the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center. 

  • Hometown: Denver
  • Home now: Denver
  • Hugo Jon Sayles High school: Denver South High School
  • College: University of Colorado Denver
  • What have you done for us lately? I directed A Good Child, Too Soon, and had my play mounted, Sisters, Sweetwater, both by The Source Theatre Company
  • Twitter-sized bio: A storyteller via voice, body, pen and spirit. A man who lives in and for the arts, the meaning of the heart and the joy of the distance traveled.
  • Web site:
  • The role that changed your life: I played Johnny Williams in the African-American classic The River Niger, the first role I truly lived in every moment of show as the character, not Hugo, not the actor, but the painter/poet trying to find his battlefield.

  • viola-davis-fencesIdeal scene partner: Viola Davis on stage, because you see her telling the truth of the character, and living in each moment. It would probably easier because of how much she would give you in those moments that make up the play.
  • What is La Carpa Aztlán all about? The play speaks of Latino cultural pride in this Trump-ian era of intolerance. It is framed in a satirical Chicano traveling show called La Carpa Aztlán (The Aztlán Tent).
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: The biggest challenge will be the physicality it will require to embody Don Aztlán. Then, the Spanish the company is loving me into.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? The immigrant soul.  Remember where you come from, and cherish those immigrant roots that came before you, and fortifies your spirit.
  • What’s one thing we don’t know about you? I started as a martial artist at age 11, and was an instructor at 16. .
  • What do you want to get off your chest? Monies should not be used to reward elitism in the arts. Case in point: In the 1970s, nationally ranked martial artists fought in tournaments here in Denver. So frequently would they lose to local fighters that they stopped fighting in Denver. Monies were awarded to those fighters. Money in the arts goes to a perceived notion of excellence, usually to those from elite areas of the country such as New York and Los Angeles.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Su Teatro La Carpa Aztlan 2010
Photo from Su Teatro’s 2010 staging of  ‘La Carpa Aztlán Presents: I Don’t Speak English Only.’ 

I Don’t Speak English Only: Ticket information
Su Teatro brings back its homegrown classic dystopian comedy that rises from the past to imagine a future world where all diversity is prohibited and any expression of ‘the other’ has been forced underground. The play with music is based on the Mexican tent-show tradition, which emerged during the 1920s in small towns across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Carpas were looked at as lower-class entertainment, but some of Mexico’s greatest performers came out of the carpa tradition, including the man Charlie Chaplin called the world’s greatest comedian: Mario Moreno, better known as Cantinflas.

• Written and directed by Anthony J. Garcia
• Through Oct. 28
• At 721 Santa Fe Drive
• Tickets $17-$20
• For tickets, call 303-296-0219 or go to


  • Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday matinee on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

Cast list:

  • Don Guillermo Aztlan: Hugo Jon Sayles
  • Elizabeth: Marialuisa Burgos
  • Carmen: Magally Luna
  • Violeta : Paola Miranda
  • Consuelo: Iliana Barron
  • Carlos: Aaron Vieyra
  • Tino: Adolfo Romero

2017-18 ‘In the Spotlife’ profiles:
Meet Christy Brandt of Creede Rep’s Arsenic and Old Lace
Meet Deb Persoff of Vintage Theatre’s August: Osage County
Meet Monica Joyce Thompson of Inspire Creative’s South Pacific

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