Zoot Suit Questions and Answers
by Luis Valdez

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How does Valdez set up themes and ideas at the beginning of Zoot Suit through the set design? What do the images make you think about, wonder about?

Valdez sets up the themes and ideas of Zoot Suit by using the newspaper front page as a drop curtain that refers to zoot-suiters invading Los Angeles. The wording of the headline suggests that these people are foreign invaders and not people who already live in Los Angeles. As Pachuco suggests when he rips through the curtain, this is not the case.

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At the start of the play, Valdez states that "the giant facsimile of a newspaper front page serves as a drop curtain." On the newspaper, the audience can read a headline that reads, in capital letters, "ZOOT-SUITER HORDES INVADE LOS ANGELES. US NAVY AND MARINES ARE CALLED IN." Behind the curtain, Valdez says the audience can see the "outlines of pachuco images" hanging "subtly ... like an old suit hanging forgotten in the depths of a closet somewhere, sometime."

Straightaway, the audience knows that the setting is Los Angeles and that the play will examine the relationship between the zoot-suiters, the media, and the...

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