Alerta

Theatre is also democratic

Review about “Alerta”, a play by Marianne Eilers Gonzàlez, performed at the Bread & Roses Theatre in July.

We are in Chile and it is 2018. Several education centres and colleges had challenged the status quo from within: students had decided to take their classrooms and lock themself as a way of protesting against unfair treatment. But, who is getting that much noise and alarm? Women are. This is what Alerta play is all about.

 

In a similar approach to “Women Talking”  the movie (2022), Alerta is performed by 10 actors who interact between each other and sitting next to the audience, allowing  us to experience closely the fears, the dreams, and the unfortunate events that lead the protagonist to fight against their authorities with strength and vulnerability at the same time. 

“Coming up with this show has been a huge and beautiful journey of personal, cultural collective and inspiring discovery. Alerta explores a part of my life in Chile, during the feminist wave in 2018. Creating Alerta comes from a need to tell these stories that drive us to bridge distances, to question, to unite”, shared the director Marianne Eilers González. 

What I loved about this play is that it promotes democratic principles which are disappearing  in some of the countries where the actors come from, and my own particularly. . Actions such as voting or hearing others’ viewpoints are powerful tools to make everybody feel listened and included. Of course coming to an agreement is always the difficult part and the play highlights this. 

 

When I left the room, it was a shame not knowing if I had to come back. I never knew what happened to these girls up there and how their fight ended. Maybe it is just like democracy: it is always a “work in progress”.  But the  show had sparked my curiosity about the feminist ‘revolution’ in Chile. 

 

Tell me more!

Alerta is created with 100% Latin America creative team and cast, having performers from Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, Perú, Brazil and México. Alerta combines theatre and activism to create a thought-provoking and impactful portrayal of the feminist movement. Search for it. Read about it and shared it. 

Have a look at @alertatheplay on Instagram. 

By Cristina Martinez


My uncle is not Pablo Escobar

Existing is a visibility thing.

Review about “My Uncle is not Pablo Escobar” theatre play written by Valentina Andrade, Elizabeth Alvarado, Lucy Way, and Tommy Ross-Williams. 

I know I am the new kid on the block writing about Latinx in the theatre scene in London, but I am happy to discover  Latinx actors taking the stage in different communities. The  Brixton House is one example of venues showcasing more Latinx stories. On this occasion, they hosted a play about the complexity of being an immigrant in the voice of four Latinx actresses and how one extraordinary life changing event challenged their status quo. 

“Bro, believe me if you are confused, so am I”

A typical migration story goes, first we try to assimilate as much as we can into the culture we are living in. The goal is to adapt and survive. If you depend on a visa; it is also a visibility issue: the less you expose yourself, the better. This was my impression of the conflict between the characters from the Play “My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar”. These characters are invisible to society; just  trying to fit in; until an extraordinary event awakens then from that taciturn inaction to work together for the greater good of their communities back home so the events that occurred in the past, don’t happen again. 

A well written and directed play performed by amazing actresses in dynamic rhythm. I could not keep my eyes away from the stage for an hour and a half. Also worth mentioning is how inclusive it was displaying subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Latin American stereotypes were discussed from within the community; another example of how Latinx are increasingly contributing  to London’s cultural scene.  

Tell me more!

“My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar” is a theatre play written by Valentina Andrade, Elizabeth Alvarado, Lucy Way, and Tommy Ross-Williams. A nug shell for the play: four Latinx women risk everything to expose a multinational bank while they confront the audience with creative inserts games about what it means to be both Londoner and Latinx. You can check more information aqui

 

Review by Cristina Martinez

29/06/2023


Joyful Señorita Rita

Review about “Extravaganza Party” at the @thejagodalston. A signature party showcasing Latinx Talent Musicians by @senoritaritauk & @n.e.a_records 

Having no money to do something has never been an excuse for a Latinx to make things happen, and the artists we are writing about today know this first hand.. Being away from home is hard but building a tribe in a foreign city is even more difficult. But, this was overcome by Pepa Duartes and his team during the launch of the Extravaganza Party hosted by “Senorita Rita”.

What it may seem like a Latinx networking at the start of the event soon enough is a welcoming celebration and recognition of citizenship in the same rhythms and bits of vibrant music. Bands such as Alex Etchart ᐩ Vientos, Imperio Bamba, DJ La Contra, and DJ Suma Phayiri, gave the night a special feeling that got the attention of  a private party upstairs that came down to join as couldn’t resist the energy.

This party was also an extraordinary excuse to present the world premiere of “Beautiful Migrant”, a Senorita Rita’s music video that showed the audience the journey of a drag queen arriving to London to become a star. “This character is part of the Senorita Rita’s theatre play, a bio drag queen show defying stereotypical notions about migrant women through comedy, dance, and shamanic rituals”, says @pepaduartes in her Instagram account. You can see the full video on YouTube here. 

That night last April, we were all together under the same flag without political disputes or nostalgic feelings for being away from home. This is the magic of the Latinx people. Can’t wait for the next extravaganza!

Tell me more!

@senoritaritauk is back to London for one night as part of the Calm Down Dear Festival at @camdenpeoplestheatre this next Tuesday 13th of June at 9:00 p.m. Then she will be moving to Sheffield for the Migration Matters Festival 2022 where she will be performing on the Friday 23rd of June. The makeup, design, and details from Pepa Duarte, Senorita Rita’s character, are from @panchouk.  Choreography by @vivi_gabel and Photography by @hectormanchego.   

Review by Cristina Martinez

10/06/2023

 


Eating Myself

***UPDATE***

New UK TOUR DATES. Find out  aqui

“Food is a gift and excuse to be with our love ones”

Comments on “Eating Myself”, solo performance by Pepa Duarte. Peruvian actor, writer, and theatremaker based in London.

Food magically takes us back home evoking memories through its aroma, taste, and the people we share it with. This is precisely what Pepa Duarte, an experienced Peruvian actress, brings to the stage in her play  “Eating myself” ; the ability to make the audience feel like they are part of the family. However, this theatre play is not merely a tale of heritage and family, but an exploration of the perpetual struggle for acceptance and the challenges of being an outsider, particularly as a migrant woman.

Pepa has a clear mission “My goal as an artist is pushing boundaries to make unique, experiential, and challenging pieces responding to the demands of social change. My work responds to reality through vulnerability, commitment, and entertainment. Often exploring the themes of migration, feminism, and tradition. Community, family, belonging”.

As an immigrant living in London, Pepa found herself on a journey: a journey inside herself, to discover experiences of sexism, dieting culture, and gender societal norms. Ultimately, she learned that food could be shared with a new family around a new table. And in her play, you are invited to taste it. 

The work of Pepa is truly exquisite. As she performs on stage, she commands the scenery with such mastery that it’s almost impossible to look away. And to top it off, she cooks while performing, adding yet another layer of talent. At the end of the play, she invites the audience to share the food she’s prepared, creating a truly immersive experience. As a Latin American migrant in London, I felt a strong connection to her story, and it was hard not to burst into tears. 

Tell me more!

Pepa Duarte is a Peruvian actor, writer, and theatremaker based in London. UKNA Selected artist. Award winner (OFFCommendation) for ‘Eating Myself’. Currently working with Old Vic Theatre, Kit Theatre, Tender & Education, and West End in Schools, amongst many other organisations.

***UPDATE***

New UK TOUR DATES. Find out  aqui


I only get to play Manuel

Cristina Martinez’s reflections about Playing Latinx, a theatre play directed by MarianaMalena Theatre, a Latin American female-led theatre company based in London.

Speaking Spanish in an English-speaking country can often be a unique and humorous experience. The pronunciation of certain words may produce easy laughter, and some familiar places may give the impression that one has a deep understanding of Latinx culture. However behind the surface, there is complexity and nuance in a rich cultural background, often marked by historical wounds and struggles. 

Playing Latinx is a story about a newly arrived South American actor, who quickly realises he is destined to be cast to play exotic characters – gigolo, thug, cleaner with a funny accent. He thinks he gets showbiz: he moves, speaks, and writes as a stereotypical Latinx person is expected to act. But as he learns to play the game with increasing success, he questions if his behaviour is perpetuating the stereotype. Is he losing his true identity?

Guido Garcia Lueches’s excellent play was recognised by OffComm and it combines poetry, stand-up comedy and  Latin music while exploring Latin American identity in the UK creative industries and, on a more personal level, how far he will go to fit in.  

“The storyline is based on poems and questions Guido had about their experience as a migrant actor”, states Mariana and Malena who directed Guido in “Playing Latinx. “Although centred around the entertainment industry, the journey of this play slips into everyday life and trickles through any migration experience. Playing Latinx is an invitation to feel uncomfortable, to allow yourself to be politically incorrect and vulnerable, to question, and to have a laugh. We hope it reflects the ability of the Latinx community to come together and celebrate even in adversity”, shared Mariana with Camden People’s Theatre BlogYou can see the trailer aqui

As a Latinx creative, I believe it is crucial to have representation in the industry. Having more Latinx representation in creative spaces across London is not only refreshing but also essential. It allows for more authentic and diverse stories to be told, and for Latinx actors to have the opportunity to interpret any character, not just the ones associated with their cultural background.

It is important to break stereotypes and limitations that have been imposed on Latinx actors for too long. It is time for Latinx actors to have the same opportunities as their non-Latinx counterparts and be able to showcase their versatility and range in their performances. I am eager to be part of this moment and contribute to the industry by being a representative of diverse and authentic stories.

Tell me more!

Guido Garcia Lueches is an Uruguayan theatre-maker and poet specialising in devising performance, who focuses on multiculturalism, identity, and the immigrant experience. He has been performing in the UK since 2015 and is the co-founder of the interactive theatre company Say It Again, Sorry? Playing Latinx is his first one-person show. You can find him on Instagram @elguidogarcia doing some interesting roles in OffWestEnd theatre too. 

Playing Latinx was directed by Mariana Malena, an award-winning Latin American female-led theatre company based in London. Founded by Malena Arcucci (Designer/Director) and Mariana Aritstizábal Pardo (Director/Performer) in 2016, it focuses on creating pieces that explore interdisciplinary and horizontal collaboration between artists. Follow @marianamalenatheatre for more updates. 

By Cristina Martinez

First published 30/04/2022 – Last edited 14/02/2023


Moving film set in 1950s Rio

The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível) is a 2019 internationally acclaimed film directed by Karim Aïnouz based on the 2016 novel The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão by Martha Batalha.

It is based in Rio de Janeiro during the 1950s, two sisters struggle against repression and bigotry in a patriarchal era.

Read the Guardian Review

Watch in


Yuli, the documentary of the acclaimed Cuban dancer

Based on Carlos Acosta’s autobiography NO WAY HOME – A CUBAN DANCER’S STORY, it is his own story about growing up in Cuba, becoming a dancer, moving to London and his relationship with his father, his family and his country.

The guardian Review