by Caridad Svich
directed by Barclay Goldsmith
originally produced at Borderlands Theater,
October 4, 2012
through October 21, 2012
Single-mom Roly lives in a dusty Texas town that everyone longs to escape. She’s never seen anything like Guapa, a natural-born athlete with a fiery ambition to become an international soccer star. When Guapa joins Roly’s family, everyone’s life is turned upside down. With only one shot to reach the big leagues from the barrio, how can Guapa convince the non-believers to let go of their doubts, spread their wings and fly? This play was developed at and with the The Lark Play Development Center, NoPassport theatre alliance and Repertorio Espanol in New York City, and with ScriptWorks and the 2012 Teatro Vivo Latino New Play Festival in Austin, Texas.
Barclay Goldsmith, Artistic Director: After 26 years of commissioning, developing and producing new plays which reflect the border and U.S. Southwest, productions of plays which can possibly cross over and make it into mainstream theaters have to be cautious. However, Guapa is appealing to Miracle Theater, Phoenix Theater and Borderlands Theater. This is because the play is a welcome departure from the now constant flow of immigration plays, drug plays and gang plays which so dominate the headlines and to some extent, compromise the dominant content of new and established playwrights who locate their plays here. Not that this headline subject matter is not important! But we lose focus of the lives of many Border families that meet the daily obstacles of existence with high hopes and aspirations into a stable middle class professional life, prosaic as this might seem for a contemporary play…which as for many Americans seems outside one’s grasp. The play furthermore presents a family that is multi ethnic and multi cultural. American popular media is slow to remind us that French, Irish and German settlers in the U.S. Southwest and especially in Mexico inter married with Mexican citizens who were either Mezitizo or very Indigenous. The cross cultural assimilation continues today with all kinds of nuances and complexities of cooperation, goodwill, and still often in a context of racism and sharp economic disparity. This family and the aspirations and hopes that it holds dear makes this play somewhat unique. We all love it not only for being unique in subject matter (for this area at least), but for its characters who have great heart. The characters aspire to good things, and women in Sports and Science seem to attract growing interest. This is especially so for women in the game of soccer, which is slowly gaining a national foothold. The strong representation of popular culture: niches, religious and non religious icons, and graffiti along with poetry and a complex use of languages: English/Spanish and Quechua, all add to a rich tapestry of place.
This will be the third Rolling World Premiere that Borderlands has brought to the table. In addition, we commissioned and produced two other border plays which have had extended life of national productions apart from NNPN: A Visitor’s Guide to Arivaca by Evangeline Ordaz and Electricidad by Luis Alfaro, subsequently produced at Goodman and the Mark Taper. For further information on Borderlands play development and past productions, see borderlandstheater.org.
The Edgerton award allowed the three theaters in the rolling world premiere to convene their respective artistic directors (and future directors) of Guapa, by Caridad Svich, along with Tucson videographers, designers and dramaturg to rehearse/workshop and plan for the rolling world premiere. Edgerton does not remunerate travel costs but we were all able to respond to early sound tracks, video samples and a recent draft of the play through a reading. NNPN provided air travel and costs for video, the latter used by all three theaters. Borderlands provided, on its own, local transportation, lodging and a number of meals.
Director: Barclay Goldsmith
Set Design: Andres Volousek
Lighting Design: Clint Bryson
Sound Design: Jim Kingenfus
Costume Design: Kathy Hurst
Dramaturg: Heather Helinsky
Technical Director: Frank Calsbeek
Video Design: Brenda Limon
Production Manager: Elizabeth Blair
Assistant Director: Eva Tessler
Cast: GUAPA: Gabriela Urias ROLY: Annabelle Nuñez PEPI: Marisa Acosta LEBON: Mario Tineo HAKIM: Adrian Gomez