Tuesday August 22nd 2017

” Yo Solo” Theater Festival of Latino Solo shows

Chicago has become the “promise land” for young, aspiring playwrights of late. Many of our smaller theater companies ( along with a few of the larger) continue to nurture the young playwright’s work. Collaboraction is a local company that incorporates innovative artists to create works that are both theatrical and art-based experiences.Their annual “Sketchbook Festival” has been home and start for many area writers and now they have rejoined Teatro Vistsa in bringing the works of Latino artists to the forefront in their first annual “Yo Solo Festival of Latino Shows”, allowing for this ever growing population to get their word out, not just to the Latino audiences, but to the General market. Following in the footsteps of Goodman’s LatinoFest as put together by Henry Godinez, Teatro Vista and Collaboraction, through a unique procedure have found a great number of works that they are displaying at the home of Collaboraction at The Flat Iron Arts Building located at 1579 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Three distict programs are what “Yo Solo” is composed of: Program A, which is the one I saw at today’s opening is made up of two stories- “La Risa de Dios”, written and performed by Febronio Zatarain and directed by Ignacio Guevera is designed to capture the heart and soul of the Latino Immigrant of Chicago as they adapt to this strange new world and learn more about the city and the people who inhabit it. Zatarain, through multi media of videos, music and props ( tons of props) captures the joys, the heartaches and the challenges faced when arriving in their new homes as they face their new lives and attempt to fulfill the dreams that brought them here to begin with. This one is done in Spanish with a screen that has subtitles to assist those who do not understand Spanish. The English screen was a bit out of focus as the stage lighting caused a lot to be unreadable, but even so, the power of the performances and the action onstage along with the music and videos kept our attention and allowed a complete understanding of the experience our audience was experiencing.

The second show in Program A is titled”Guera” written and performed by the bubbly energetic Lisandra Tena and directed to perfection by Carlo Garcia. There was a lag time between shows as they changed the set pices on the smallish stage and once again, a ton of props are what makes this show work as well. This is an Interactive show where Ms Tena greets us as our “server” at the “Nuevo Mexicana” restaurant. We have a menu that has  Appetizers, Soups,Entrees and Desserts-two under each section with unusual descriptions and we the audience get to select one of each which then becomes a 6-9 minute sketch drawn from Ms Tena’s own life experience. She is dynamic and highly energetic as she did her four wonderful little stories complete with minor costume changes as well as different characters that represented her past and her family members. A rousing and fun experience for all.                                         

Program A will be performed as follows:

Sunday, August 5th at 8 p.m.,Thursday,August 9th at 8 p.m.,Friday,August 10th at 8 p.m.,Saturday,August 11th at 1 p.m. and Sundays,August 12th at 1 p.m.

Program” B” also has two shows- “Highway 47” and “para Graciela” written by Sandra Delgado, one of Chicago’s finest actresses, who also is the producer of this event and has spread her wings out to writing as well.Program “C” is made up of “Antipoda” which takes the audience on a journey through our country through the lens of racial identity, crime and sexuality through Mime and bi-lingual spoken word ( written and performed by Rey Andujar, as well as “Empanada for a Dream”, Juan Francisco Villa’s portrait of a family and neighborhood, set against a secret that destroys it all. In English ( with a touch of Spanish).

To learn more about these shows and times, visit www.teatrovista.org

I will attempt to see the other programs and get this information out as well as I hope many of you will. Art should never be divided by race or creed, so we as theater audiences need to release our minds and set them free to enjoy all of the experiences that are afforded to us in the great theater city of Chicago.”Yo Solo” is an experience that can be shared by all and many of the stories you will bear witness to are not just stories that are Latino, but humans in general. Every race has endured some prejudice and adjustment to a new world, We may handle it differently, but we all must learn to handle it , period!

The cost of tickets for this event are quite affordable $15 per program($10 for students) and you can purchase a Festival Pass ( all three experiences) for a mere $35 ( $20 for students). If you have a young writer or actor in your family, this is the perfect gift for them. What they will learn from watching these talented people is well worth the price of the ticket. To reserve your spot ( there are only about  50 seats in this intimate space), call 312-226-9633 or online,visit www.yosolofestival.com

Again, the theater is located at 1579 N. Milwaukee Avenue ( at North and Damen Avenues) on the third floor and as a part of the festival there is an art exhibition,

For more thoughts, visit www.theatreinchicago.com  go to review round-up and click on “Yo Solo”




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