Saturday November 18th 2017

An Interview with Juan Castaneda- “Las Hermanas Padilla”

I had an opportunity to speak with Director Juan Castaneda of The Urban Theater Company, who is now directing  “Las Hermanas Padilla” for Chicago Fusion Theatre. This will be presented at the DCA Storefront Theater, one of our storefront treasures in the “loop” from February 29th thru April 1st. Castaneda has been involved with many theater companies over the years and is excited about doing this work by Tony Meneses ( Fusion will do Meneses work for the entire season).

One of my questions to Juan was about the space itself- a bare bones storefront where the director and design team can decide the best way to work the stage and seating areas. Since there is no actual stage and the seats and platforms are portable, they have the opportunity to design what they feel will be the most comfortable for the audience and for the actors, allowing the story to be seen and heard by all. “Las Hermanas Padilla” translates to the Padillas Sisters and what this story is about is ten sisters-in-law, who while their husbands are away in battle find themselves in a new “sisterhood” and become a family.

This is about Mexican women, but can easily be understood by any ethnic group as it is not about the politics of the battle or their ethnicity, but about family and the strength of the human connection. Castaneda found working with this all female cast a bit different than other casts he has worked with as the emotions of the characters they are playing developed on its own, rather than having to help them find these ladies, through the rehearsal procedure, each of the actresses found themselves bringing their own experiences into the characters they are playing.

His own upbringing, a large Mexican family helped him into getting into the script as he could visualize his mother and all of his aunts as these characters and their responses to situations of happiness and sadness.Through the eyes of Meneses and the direction of Castaneda, we, the audience will be able to watch ten women who are related , only through marriage , learn to test their own limits as they find solace, humor and grace in an unexpected sisterhood. Each is faced with the fear of their husband not returning and each learns from the feelings of the others as they respond to anxiety, loss and being able to endure through the help of their “sisters”.

Chicago Fusion Theatre, through its members span a vast range of disciplines and are committed to productions that fuse different genres, mediums and styles, so they can bring a greater appreciation to the arts in the community. This sounds like a winner and I am looking forward to being able to review this production.

The dates are February 29th through April 1 at the DCA Storefront Theater located at 66 E. Randolph Street in Chicago.

The Performance schedule is Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $25 ($15 for seniors and students) making live theater very affordable and can be purchased by calling 312-742-8497 or online at or if you are in the loop, you can stop by the Cultural Center across the street and visit the box office

discounted parking at Wabash Randolph Self Park at 20 E.Randolph Street- bring your ticket for validation at the theater and pay just $12.00

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