Review by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Earlier this week I tweeted out, “#FringeFemmes have hit the ground running with some of the strongest #solo shows @Hollywoodfringe #HFF17 #LAThtr.”
Specifically included in this preview group is ‘Til Sunday, a one-woman show seamlessly written and performed by Nairoby Otero, and quite beautifully directed by Michael D’Angora, playing at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
‘Til Sunday follows Claridad, a 14-year-old Cuban born girl, through the span of 13 years leading up to the day of her “quinces” in 1985 New Orleans, after her mother moved to the United States with her to find a better life.
‘Til Sunday is a truly heartbreaking story that speaks to so many people who lived through the era of refugees rafting over from Cuba to Miami and escaping the Castro regime after the toppling of what was supposed to be a burgeoning democracy, turned harsh Communism and equal poverty and isolation for all. If you happened to have had a relative living outside of Cuba at that time, you could apply for immigration papers. In Claridad’s case, she and her mother are allowed to emigrate to the U.S. Her father is not. And she spends a lifetime dreaming about a relationship she someday will have with him. Whereas, her mother is left to face the plain reality, that after 13 years, the family is broken and she is tired of the sham.
Otero is deft in her realization of both the daughter and mother characters, fluidly transitioning from the young girl trying to fit into American society while balancing her mother’s ideals for her Cuban heritage, and then back to the older woman working tireless to keep a family intact that has been separated by too much time and distance.
The story itself is all loveliness and filled with determination for more than just survival. Claridad and her mother live in a joy and hopefulness that is deeply embedded in the cultural soul of the Cuban people through dance, music and love. But also like so many immigrants, they live in two worlds, passionate to create a new life but also in conflict and sometimes sadness about who they are, and questioning why they’ve left their old lives behind. ‘Til Sunday is a simultaneously lighthearted and playful, yet deeply evocative, intelligent portrayal of that reality.
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