Latina isues enacted

by Labriece Roddy | 5/16/94 5:00am

Saturday night's production of "Beautiful Senoritas," a modernized rendition of the original written in the1970s by Cuban playwright Dolores Prida, filled Collis Common Ground with students restless with the Green Key Weekend spirit.

There was a huge turnout, and extra chairs had to be set up to provide overflow seating. The audience was energized and ready to experience a theatrical production with a Latin flare.

The students who worked together to put on the play and perform it are members of the Nuestras Voces Latino Theater Group, formed at Dartmouth in 1992. The purpose of their group is to promote positive aspects of their diverse cultures, as well as to confront contemporary issues concerning Latinos, voicing their opinions through the medium of theatrical expression.

"Beautiful Senoritas" is a feminist play that addresses several stereotypes associated with Latino lifestyle, as seen from the perspective of Latino women.

The title of the play illustrates its main topic-- that "Latin" women are caught behind an image of voluptuous bodies, overly painted faces, coy smiles, and a sexuality that is "always ready for amour."

In addition to evoking the personal repression caused by the proliferation of this image, the actresses voiced their concerns about the preference of many Latino men for having male children, the restriction of many women to working within the boundaries of the home, and their being taught to live for their husband and children and never themselves.

However, the success of this play was not simply the identification and expression of these problems, but the way in which it was accomplished.

The issues were approached with an effective blending of comedy and intense moments of drama, set in the framework of a beauty pageant. Setting it in this well-known context made the play easier for the audience to relate to.

Furthermore, by keeping the flow of the play quick, with smooth transitions between scenes, and not ever letting it get too depressing, the actresses and actors were able to maintain the audience's interest.

There was no lead role in the play. The female parts were the focus, and shared the spotlight equally. Although the male parts were small, the actors portrayed them with intensity and enthusiasm.

The cast was comprised of Wilfredo Castillo '94, Vilma Duran '97, Marcelino Garcia '94, Mireya Garcia '95, Veronica Garcia '96, Melanie Luna '97, Alina Mogollon '96, Alex Parra '95, Juan Serrano '96, Maria Simental '97, Michelle Villalobos '96 and Joe Ybarra '96.

The impressive acting in "Beautiful Senoritas" showed that Latinas, and women in general, while "put on a pedestal and trampled at the same time," have thoughts and opinions that are significant and deserve to be heard.

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