Nuestras Voces dramatizes issues of Latino identity
The Latina theatrical group Nuestra Voces captivated its audiences this weekend with its presentation of "Nuestra Latinidad" in the Warner Bentley Theater.
Performing four short plays consisting mostly of monologues, the group addressed issues relevant to Latino-Americans, including ethnic heritage, sexuality, religious persecution and racism.
Underlying all these themes lies the subtext of personal identity -- an issue particularly resonant for Latino-Americans because they face unique obstacles. The first two vignettes, "The Last Hispanic" and "Marlene," each addressed a social ill defined for a specific social group.
Cesar Angobaldo '95 opened the show with his short, explosive monologue, "The Last Hispanic," capturing the frustration of the "Chicanos (attempt) to gain control over their communities which involves the maintenance of a cohesive and culturally distinct communal ethnic identity."
"Marlene," focused on the need for an vigorous remedy for widespread oversight of problems in Latino-American neighborhoods. Veronica Garcia '96 humorously portrayed Marlene, the ghost of Sereni's (Yvonne Lopez '97) friend that begs Sereni to remember her and take action to change the situation in her neighborhood.
Both "The Last Hispanic" and "Marlene" ended with promises to take action in a positive fashion for the specific social problems. On the other hand, "Giving up the Ghost" was far less about solutions than about open discussions of personal issues for Latino-American women.
Maria Simental '97 commanded the stage with her portrayal of Corky. She successfully expressed Corky's nonchalant, "tough nut" attitude with her humorous description of ordinarily despicable events. The range of ability of Simental came through even more in the emotional close of the monologue, in which Corky showed a self-perceived crack in her armor - her rape by her father. The audience sat stunned throughout this closing monologue.
Marisa (Claudia Vargas '98) and Amalia (Obianuju C. Anya '98) explored the significance of a lesbian relationship. Each actress depicted the frustration of their character wonderfully.
Finally, director Patricia Herrerra '96 took the stage in "Open Letter to Myself," which captures the full intent of the production: a sense of unity and belonging. This final thought received an enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Overall, the actors displayed great talent in their depiction of specific characters; however, the portrayals were occasionally more graphic than necessary. The plays also suffered some dry spots, during which points were overemphasized, but this did not lessen the value of the issues raised nor the quality of the performances.