The new Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Repertory Theatre Company will open its second production of the season, Love, Lies and Revolution at the Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Theatre in Los Angeles on February 2 through February 25. Two provocative, emotionally-charged one-acts fill the stage: The Wafer by Arthur Meiselman, and Red Columbian Sky by Katrina Elias.
The Wafer: In the deception and distortion of today's politics, a band of Latin rebels is floundering in their attempt to overthrow a brutal regime. Though the suppressed population adores and supports the group, the rebellion is failing. Rebel leader, Juan Castia, is haunted by nightmares that underscore his doubt and lack of resolve. In a desperate attempt to spur the rebellion into a full-blown revolution, a decision is made: Castia will allow himself to be captured, to be given up to the authorities who will be forced to martyr him. The result will be a symbol... to enflame and lead the country to its freedom. With an eerie parallel to the Christ-story, Castia persuades his young "son" to instigate the betrayal to the police. It works! The execution of Castia launches a widespread uprising that brings down the regime. But betrayal breeds betrayal. The revolutionary government becomes a newly costumed version of the "pigs" they deposed. The final blow to the zeal and idealism comes in the revelation that Castia was never executed. He lives and he will remain a hidden prisoner for the rest of his life as his former comrades canonize him for the sake of the "people."
Originally entitled "The Revolt of Brother Christ",The Wafer was commissioned for a festival of "dissent" at the Judson Memorial Theatre in New York. Later, its current incarnation premiered in San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle. This production marks its premiere in Los Angeles.
The production is directed by David Llauger Meiselman and features Antonio Vega, Kikey Castillo, Lawrence Smilgys, Michael Kours, Erica Gabrielle, Les Borsay, Nicole Ortega, Miguel Sandoval, Fernando Luis, Pete Carrillo, and Jesse Aranda.
Red Columbian Sky: An existential view of revolution from a woman's perspective in which the audience witnesses the last night between a young soldier and the general's concubine. Set in the midst of the fall of Bogota, Marina (who represents both lover and mother) seduces a young counter-revolutionary, Lucas, to gain intelligence for her capture, the general. Yet both are doomed. In the process, they find their lives finally fulfilled in a fleeting moment of love.
The production is directed by Felipe Alejandro and features Estrella Tamez and Michael Kours
The Wafer was written by Arthur Meiselman, a writer, playwright, and director whose work has a worldwide audience. He was raised in the New York theatre, trained there and in Europe. He created the first American combined theatre and dance repertory company, The Ensemble, and was the artistic director of a series of performing companies based in the U.S. and Europe. An original member of the CBS Workshop and the CBC Sunday Night series, he has also produced and directed for the screen. Currently, he is staging the Talos Ensemble and its new Shows of One. He is also the editor of Scene4 magazine and a producer/director for Aemagefilms. AviarPress publishes acting editions of his plays and some of his other work.
Red Columbian Sky was written by Katrina Elias. Her latest solo venture, a 35mm short film "Madam Marina," which she wrote and directed was featured in over twenty-five film festivals World-Wide, earning her a "Best Latino Film" award and "Best Director" award. Currently, she is in preproduction to direct a full-length feature border-love story, "The Driver of the Dead," and has sold her short film, "Santa Lucia's Eyes", slated to shoot in early 2007. Katrina is well supported by Hispanic organizations created to help the Latino artist. In 2006 she was given an NBC/NCHM writing fellowship, awarding her a stipend, and food and lodging for a month in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she wrote a TV comedy spec script "Everybody Hates Chris." She is a NALIP Producers Academy Alum, and her theatre works have been produced by NOSOTROS, The Fort Worth Hispanic Playwright Festival and the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. Katrina is a Writers Boot Camp two-year television and film writing program alum, and member of Nosotros, NALIP, IFP and the Screen Actors Guild.
Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Repertory Theatre Company (RMRTC) is a new branch of the Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Foundation, under the auspices of Artistic Director Margarita Cannon and foundation board member Gil Smith, RMRTC is dedicated to the American Latino experience.
What began as the Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Repertory Theatre Company with the critically acclaimed Transformations, a production written, produced, directed, and performed by company members for the 2006 season, has now evolved into a resident theatre company (RMRTC). Its mix of new and established playwrights exemplifies its commitment to daring and challenging works and the development of Latino talent and serves to fulfill a part of Ricardo MontalbĂˇn's dream… by providing opportunities for Latinos in all aspects of theatrical entertainment.
The Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Theatre, 1615 Vine Street,
Hollywood, CA 90028.
Limited Engagement: February 2- 25, 2007
Tickets: $10-15. To buy tickets by phone, call: 800-595-4849
Located at the entrance to the theatre, the box office is normally open 2PM-7PM Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday box office opens 90 minutes prior to curtain. To confirm current box office hours, please call 323-463-0089. For information call: (323) 461-0675
Directions: From the 101 Hollywood Freeway exit Hollywood Blvd. Travel west approximately 6 blocks on Hollywood Blvd. to Vine Street. Turn left on Vine. The Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Theatre is on the right.
A fledgling company trying to help get momentum going at the Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Theatre in Los Angeles is on the boards again with a new name and a new presentation. The Nosotros American Latino Theatre, which presented a double bill of one-acts in the fall, is back as the Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Repertory Theatre Company, with another double bill of one acts — this one improving promisingly upon the fall's. The first, more intriguing play echoes Jesus' final days. The central character in Arthur Meiselman's "The Wafer" is a revolutionary (Antonio Vega) who plans to sacrifice himself, believing that his execution will prompt the .people of his un-named country to rise up against their oppressors. Also set, during a time of repression, Katrina Elias' "Red Columbian Sky" envisions a fading prostitute (Estrella Tamez) — is she an angel of death? — who comforts such men as the young reslstance flghter (Michael Kours) who's just been savagely beaten. Company leaders David Llauger-Meiselman and Felipe Alejandro directed the respective plays, which were presented under the banner title "Love, Lies and Revolution." As in the fall, the audience is placed on the long-underused MontalbĂˇn Theatre's stage which has been sealed off from the much larger auditorium to create a 160 seat performing space. Production values are limited, but this company makes an art of resourcefulness. At once stylish and pulse-pumping, Llauger-Meiselman's staging of his father's "The Wafer" incorporates big-screen video reports (by brother Erik Llauger-Meiselman) on the sharply dressed thugs who are in power. Some scene-tweaking obscures the story line, but Vega's performance — virile and commanding, yet humanized by doubt — galvanizes the piece. The magic realism of "Sky," unfortunately, is only fitfully effective, which leaves it less successful at conveying the presentation's overarching thoughts about the sometimes high cost of trying to change the world.
Daryl H. Miller
©Los Angeles Times