( TWO STARS) Teatro Luna, the only all Latina theater company is celebrating 10 years of bringing original works to the stage. Over the years I have watched them take on many productions, some of which were created by the actors themselves in workshops, allowing each of them to add something, often from their own lives to the project. Over the years this troupe has grown in their outreach to the Latina community as well and they have started an “incubator” program that allows new works to be played to audiences. This allows them to rework the production based on the feedback of the audience members and bring it to a finished project.
Their current production, now on the stage of the Upstairs Theater at The Greenhouse Theater is one of these projects. “Lullaby”, written by Ensemble Member Diane Herrera explores the world of “Bigfoot”, Aliens,mermaids and follows a sort of “twilight zone” approach to the exploration of love, motherhood, death and loneliness. Being a “work in progress”, there were a few spots that were disjointed and some of these talented actresses, not used to working on a larger stage with audience members on three sides, had a bit of a projection problem. Directors, Maria Enriquez and Miranda Gonzalez( who also appears in the production) need to revisit some of their “blocking” in order to not have the actors facing away from the audience. The cast of players were as solid as ever. They always bring out all their emotion in their plays as they have lived through and experienced many of the situations in their own way. They are a strong ensemble and work very well together: Angelica Acebedo, Maria Enriquez,Christina Igaravidez,Beatriz Jamaica,Lauren Villegas,Gabriella Ortiz and Ms Gonzalez- you are on the right track!
The story starts out with “death” ( or does it) and a bird that may symbolize “Death” or “The Devil” or perhaps just “evil”. A young lady is dead but with a snap of the bird’s fingers, she comes back to life, or does she. There are a great many short scenes, all of which seem to be short stories, but as the 90 minutes of stories proceed, we see that they do have a relationship with each other. Some of the scenes were very comical, in particular the scene about a medicine that will return one woman to her youth. There are scenes that deal with giving up a child, a loved one dying, a sister feeling that she can bring back her dead sister’s soul,a very funny scene about a woman meeting with her relationship therapist whose significant other is a robot that she is being dumped by for a coffee machine and more. While these stories may not seem related, they are by the fact that they all deal with finding love and one’s inner self and although it is hard to “get” in the beginning, the flashback idea allows us to read into the story and see that they are connected.
As time goes on, I am sure that Teatro Luna and its marvelous ensemble will bring this play to the maturity that they have shown over the years. While they have changed their leadership, the majority of these women were there from the start and they all have their hearts and souls into what they do- and that is to create or help to create stories dealing with being a Latina; dealing with racial/ethnic/cultural/sexual identities and with this year comes a new exploration of where do Latinas fit in today’s society.
If you have never seen a work by this ensemble, let me tell you that they are a sparkling , talented and lovely group of women. While this show is still a work in progress, it is worth the trip to watch the creative juices flowing. Knowing how they work, I am certain that each performance will get stronger and in a year or two, it will come back as a mature play. Meanwhile, you can get a chance to watch it start the process, but only until October 17th with performances as follows:
Wednesday,Thursday and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.
tickets range from $12-$25, a fair price for live theater and can be ordered by visiting www.teatroluna.org
The Greenhouse Theater is located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.