Tanya Saracho’s tale of humor and heartache in a changing Mexico
Director Laurie Wooleryand dramaturg Luis Alfaro team up on an explosive tale of humor and heartache in a changing Mexico. The West Coast premiereof El Nogalar (“The Pecan Orchard”) by Tanya Saracho opens at The Fountain Theatre on January 28, with low-priced previews beginning January 21.
When the Galvan family returns home to Mexico after years in the U.S., they must come to terms with encroaching drug cartels, economic upheaval and a new class order. Inspired by The Cherry Orchard, Saracho makes Chekhov’s classic story her own, instilling it with a thrilling sense of immediacy. The deeply felt story of changing times and class divide is vividly portrayed using a mix of English, Spanish, Spanglish and Espanglés – but audiences will have no trouble understanding Saracho’s funny and complex characters.
Dunia (Sabina Zuniga Varela), the Galvan family’s housekeeper, watches Maité Galvan (Yetta Gottesman) and her daughters Valeria (Isabelle Ortega) and Anita (Diana Romo) spend their wealth and risk losing their home and beloved pecan orchard to a drug cartel. Despite warnings from Lopez (Justin Huen), Maité disregards her declining fortune as stubbornly as she ignores the sinister capos simmering at her doorstep.
“When I was in school, I felt that Chekhov was the most Latino playwright I came across.” explained Saracho in an interview. “I thought, ‘I know this dude, his characters. These women are my aunts, my cousins.’ ”
“This play humanizes what we’re reading in the news everyday,” says Woolery. “These women are from an old family, wealthy landowners with political connections. But in this new Mexico, class is turned on its ear.”
El Nogalar was developed in a staged reading during the Goodman Theatre’s Latino Theatre Festival, and premiered at the Goodman in 2011, produced and commissioned by Chicago’s Teatro Vista where Saracho is a resident playwright. American Theatre Magazine published the script in the July/August 2011 issue along with an interview with Saracho, who has been dubbed “a major playwriting talent” by the Chicago Tribune and a playwright “of national stature” by The New York Times.
El Nogalar Previews Jan 21 – 27, Opens Jan 28 323 663-1525 More Info