Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
Las Diosas del Burlesque — The Consul General of Mexico in El Paso and Central Cultural Mexican Paso del Norte hosts the burlesque troupe under the direction of David Abdiel Alcalá Castro at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at El Paso Community College, 9050 Viscount, Building A, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces, 211 N. Main. Admission is free. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cloudcroft melodramas — Cloudcroft Light Opera Company’s live open air melodrama performances at 7:30 p.m. at Zenith Park’s pavilion on Burro Ave. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Early arrival recommended. Information: (575) 682-2733 or cloudcroftlightopera.com.
“Never Trust a City Slicker” is Sept. 1-3, and Sept. 15-16.
‘Headsets: A View from the Light Booth’ — No Strings Theatre Company opens its season with the comedy through Sept. 3 at Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Directed by Ceil Herman. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sunday Sept. 3; and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
This hilarious and charming backstage comedy was written by William Missouri Downs, author of “Cockeyed,” “Mad Gravity” and “Seagulls in a Cherry Tree.”
‘Once on this Island’ — El Paso Community College Performer’s Studio 2017 summer repertory presents the musical with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 3, at EPCC Transmountain Campus Forum Theatre, 9570 Gateway North, directed by Keith Townsend. All proceeds go to scholarships for Performance Studies students at EPCC. Admission: $15 general admission: $10 non-EPCC students, military; $8 EPCC students, faculty, staff and seniors. Available at the door; box office opens two hours before each performance (cash or checks only; age 7 and over only admitted).Information: 831-5056 or forumtheater.wix.com/epcc.
The Caribbean love story is based ”My Love, My Love; or The Peasant Girl.” A peasant girl on a tropical island uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes.
‘Real Women Have Curves’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the Josefina Lopez play Sept. 8-Oct. 1. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $11 ($9 seniors; $8 students and military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
Set in a tiny sewing factory in East L.A., this outrageously funny story is about five full-figured Mexican-American women who are racing to meet nearly impossible production deadlines in order to keep their tiny factory from going under.
A Tribute to Carol Burnett — Boba Café and Cabaret,1900 S. Espina in Las Cruces, presents a tribute to the comedian/actress, with two performances each night Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16 and Sept. 22-23. The evening will include of her most popular sketches and songs of the ’60s and ’70s that she performed throughout her lengthy career. Reservations recommended. Information, reservations: (575) 647-5900.
Dinner show is 7 p.m. each night; doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets: $27.50.
Cocktail show is 8:30 p.m.; seating at 8:15 p.m. Tickets: $12.50.
‘Annie’ — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, opens its season with the beloved musical, Sept. 15-Oct 1. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15; $12 students and military; $10 age 12 and younger. Information: suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook.
Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the beloved show features a wonderful score written by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, including the smash hit “Tomorrow.” With her combination of street smarts and optimism, Annie is determined to find her parents, who left her at the orphanage years ago. Though things don’t quite work out the way she has planned, she does manage to thwart the plans of the evil Miss Hannigan and find a new family with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell, and her lovable pooch, Sandy.
‘Equivocation’ — American Southwest Theatre Company opens its season with the Bill Cain play Sept. 22-Oct. 1, at NMSU’s Center for the Arts, 1000 E University Ave. Performances are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $17. Information: (575) 646-4515 or nmsutheatre.com.
The play proposes the question: what if the government commissioned William Shakespeare to write the definitive history of a national crisis, “the Gunpowder Plot,” in one of his plays?
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance opens its season with Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” Sept. 28-Oct. 8, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. Directed by Kim McKean. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $14 ($12 UTEP faculty and staff, seniors, military, groups of 10 or more, alumni (with card) and non-UTEP students; $9 for UTEP students. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
The audience is invited for a bit of “bunburying,” as heroes Algernon and Jack endeavor to find idyllic love in spite of their mediocre monikers.
‘Don’t Drink the Water’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main, Las Cruces, presents the Woody Allen comedy Sept. 29-Oct. 15. Directed by Christopher Lininger. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15 ($12 student, senior, military; $10 age 12 and younger). Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Allen’s first professionally produced play premiered on Broadway in 1966. The farce takes place inside an American Embassy behind the Iron Curtain.
‘Real Women’ relates Latina experience from teen’s viewpoint
If any playwright speaks directly about the Latina experience, it’s Chicana playwright Josefina Lopez.
That’s why her most famous work, “Real Women Have Curves,” makes the perfect addition to the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month at El Paso Playhouse. It’s one of those great plays that hits the trifecta. It makes one laugh, cry and, most importantly, think.
As director Eurydice Saucedo said, “It so adequately reflects what we’re still facing regarding immigrant, Latino, and gender issues.”
The story is semi-autobiographical, told through the eyes of teen Ana. Her older sister, Estela, is trying to live the “American Dream” by pouring her life savings into owning a small garment business.
“Only the equipment, which is faulty, hasn’t been paid for and now has a lawsuit looming over her head threatening to shut her and everything she’s worked for down,” Saucedo said. “To make matters worse, she is still illegal, and she still has not been paid for her work orders. The order pays minimally, as it is for a cheap-ass company who will turn around and sell the dresses to stores like Bloomingdale’s for hundreds of dollars apiece.
“Because of her situation, she’s been unable to pay her employees who themselves are financially struggling. But their loyalty to Estela and a close camaraderie keeps them working and sticking together. Carmen, Ana, Rosali and Pancha are all legal, but Estela has never filed the necessary papers. So, every time a van passes the shop she lives in fear that it is the authorities trying to close her doors.
“All of the ladies have personal problems as well that are contributing to their lack of self-worth. Estela fears that at 35 she is a failure in the eyes of her family. Rosali is on a constant diet, thinking she is too fat; Pancha is childless and has been abused by her husband; Carmen thinks she is pregnant at 50, that all she has done in life is mother children...and Ana, still a teenager, wants to be free of her family and her work and to get a scholarship to go to NYU to become a writer.”
It’s a true ensemble piece. And I must admit, it is dear to me because I got a chance to direct a one-act version of it for the UIL one-act play competition a number of years ago, and got a great reception both locally and at regional competition in Lubbock. I was blessed with a stellar cast who really got into the minds of the five women who work at this factory.
Saucedo, who has worked with UTEP Dinner Theatre, EPCC, Viva! El Paso, Shakespeare on the Rocks, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Los Actores, said she is also blessed with her cast.
“We have a lot of newcomers to both the Playhouse and the stage. Several of them are community activists and one was a DREAMer: An undocumented student who pursues higher education.”
Abygail Moreno is Ana; Lorena Soto, plays her mother, Carmen; Claudia Yoli is the elder sister and owner Estela; Christy Zermeno is Rosali, and Saucedo plays Pancha.
“The actresses themselves have completely thrown themselves into the roles to bring this funny, touching, story to life,” Saucedo said, adding they “are very involved, excited, and understand how important art is to activism.”
Saucedo said the show is important “because we’re still living in a society that berates and humiliates women and immigrants — whether because of where they came from, because of how they look, or what ‘role’ men think they should be playing. It’s important to young women wanting to be something more than they are because of their circumstances but think they can’t. With the support of family and friends, dreams can and do come true. It’s important because we as a society need to go back and find our moral compass.”
Even though the story is set in 1987, it still speaks to us today.
“It’s 2017 and the story is just as relevant now…Thirty years later and we have seem to have regressed more than progressed in working through the immigrant issue in the United States,” Saucedo said. “Today, now more than ever, there are children younger and younger ending their lives because of bullies - people picking on others for racial, homophobic, or just plain hatred towards others they perceive as different. It’s 2017, and we’re back to how these ladies, who feared deportation and utter ruin because of such bullies, stand up for each other and work together against all that is wrong in America. It is the one way to overcome such bullies - but it has to start from within.
“We need to learn to have our own self-worth, dignity and respect. I hope people who see this play walk away with those lessons and morals.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
Feature storyCopyright 2017 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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