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Monday, October 15, 2018

REAL WOMEN AT THE GARRY MARSHALL

Real Women Have Curves by Josephina Lopez

It's 1987 in East L.A. Teen angst in transition puts Ana (Juliana Stephanie Ojeda)
Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda) Photo by Chelsea Sutton.
in the dilemma of clinging to traditional Mexican family values while the siren song of the future calls her to her own life which she documents in her private journal hidden in the tiny bathroom of her sister's sewing 'factory'.  
Similar to Fionnuala Kenny's "Elvis's Toenail" that turns on the sewing trade in Dublin, we find cultural transition center stage as changes in the role of women in society and in the family emerge. 
Estella (Sherry Mandujano), Carmen (Blanca Araceli), Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), and Rosali (Claudia Duran)  Photo by Chelsea Sutton.
Ana's older sister Estela (Sherry Manujuano) has created a small sewing shop where her mother, Carmen (Blanca Araceli) and workers, Pancha (Jackie Garcia) and Rosali (Claudia Duran) secret themselves behind locked doors to finish a big, big order of dresses that will wind up on the backs of 'skinny white women' for four hundred dollars a piece.  Originally presented as a stage play in 1990 (and later as a film), Lopez's naive polemic promotes somewhat stereotypical archetypes with Ana, the aspiring writer, who sneaks into the tiny bathroom to narrate the story that will become her play as it becomes her life. A recent high school grad with high aspirations (that we learn in a final curtain speech do come true!) she emulates Sally Field in Norma Rae by standing on a chair to coach the others in how to say NO! Well before what has become the somewhat hysterical #MeToo movement, we see Estela charmed by an unseen Latin lover who slides poetic billets doux under the door: "How do I love thee, let me count the ways..."

As an homage to their curves.. each of the women in the second act strips to give us the idea that weight is just number, except for Rosali who tells the girls that she's on a diet "from China", which must include dehydration as she faints from the heat in the tiny sweat shop. 

All's well as the overlock machine is figured out and the hundred dress quota is fulfilled with Estela then dismissing with extreme prejudice the demanding client for whom the fancy dresses have been made. Director Mary Jo Duprey creates stage pictures in an odd split focus from time to time, but over all the play... such as it is...works fine. A feel good story from the barrio, Tanya Orellana's realistic set announces in big letters No Chisme!!! reminding us that gossip is verbotten! 

Real Women Have Curves by Josephina Lopez

Garry Marshall Theatre
4252 W Riverside Drive 
Burbank, CA 91505
Through November 18, 2018
Thursday – Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Select Performances on: 
Wednesday October 17 at 8pm
Saturday October 27 at 2pm
Sunday November 4 at 7:30pm
Wednesday November 7 at 8pm 

Post show discussions with playwright 
Josephina Lopez:
Wednesday, October 17 after the 8pm show
Sunday, October 21 after the 3pm show
Saturday, October 27 after the 2pm show
Wednesday, November 7 after the 8pm show
 
Tickets and Information:
818 955 8101

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