Lorca in a Green Dress: Intense, Well-Crafted Metadrama from Teatro Bravo!

By Julie Peterson Fri., Feb. 24 2012 at 12:00 PM

LorcaInAGreenDressv2.jpg
courtesy of Teatro Bravo!

One of the cool things about Teatro Bravo! is that you can’t predict what kind of Latino theater they’re going to give you. It might be a socially conscious tale of contemporary people, with echoes of older myths; it might be a biography of a public figure, bringing light to obscured corners. It might be a wild, hysterical, subversive comedy or a revived classic. Or it might be an artsy, dreamy, intriguing spectacle, like Lorca in a Green Dress.

This play, by Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz, places the just-executed Federico García Lorca in a special kind of Purgatory just for the surrealism-friendly, where other lost souls must work as actors portraying aspects of his personality for 40 days — a popular period of time in rituals of Roma people (Gypsies), whose culture was the focus of much of Lorca’s artistic output. (That wasn’t as hard to describe as I’d feared.)

Since Lorca was a playwright in life, and playing with reality through art often encompasses questions of existence, including the difference between life and death, there are multiple layers of mild but stimulating confusion here, along with the sort of reflexive musing that goes on in plays within plays and writing about writers. Most of the texture, though, is a skillful motif of repetition and variation, with recurring short scenes including the circumstances of Lorca’s death (which remain unverified) and his favorite memory: a day at the beach with his close friend Salvador Dalí and Dalí’s sister.

Raymond King Shurtz directs with a surprising and engaging physicality, bringing the cast far downstage in the Little Theatre’s intimate space and stylizing the encounters just enough to remind us that these characters’ relationships aren’t the kind we have on this plane. The only way to play supernatural characters is as if they are real people, and the performers bring genuine heart to their No Exit-like predicament, alternating among frustration, compassion, and deserved pride in their “work.”

Raquel García’s costumes are lovely and evocative. (They also have that inherent Matrixy nature, and when the “actors” are “off duty,” they strip off bits and pieces the way resting actors do.) Elizabeth Polen, whose character helps “guard” the Lorca Room, looks just like a muted Spanish Fascist version of one of these girl soldiers of Oz. Part of it is her feisty demeanor.

The green dress of the title is the frequent garb of Israel Jimenez, who wears it not as a female impersonator but as a version of Lorca who likes to wear a brilliant marabou-trimmed brocade gown with slicked-down hair and sparkly eyeshadow. Jimenez gives both levels of his character a confident seductiveness.

The whole cast is compelling and fun, including Lena Jácome’s mute flamenco dancer and Thomas Johnson as a (man who plays a) youth in knickers. Fernando J. Tesón plays Lorca with Blood, the entity who’s acknowledged to be the “real” Lorca — although he’s dead. Tesón has a heavy and complicated line load, but even on opening night he was the master of the goings-on, handling the wildest of symbolic poetry as assuredly as the more straightforward dialogue.

The set, designed by Shurtz, is a landscape of isolated details: a series of stained glass panels, a floating, lonely balustrade, and a huge bullring gate, all suspended above the stage and channeling beams of light from time to time. Battered green traveling trunks (Lorca really dug him some green) take the forms they need to — sometimes as lofty towers of inexorable fate — and contain what’s needed at any given moment. Far upstage, beyond a platform that sometimes holds the dancer, a little painting of the gate rests curiously on the wall.

Lorca in a Green Dress‘ great success is that all these disparate elements don’t feel disparate at all. They come together to have a deliberate effect (which may vary from one spectator to another) and also honor the brief life of a creative, troubled, and oppressed man, while working a spell of beauty and fascination.

Lorca in a Green Dress continues through Saturday, March 3, in the Little Theatre at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. For tickets, $13.50 to $18.50, click here or call 602-254-2151.

*******
From Phoenix New Times
Sincerely,
Lena Jacome

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The Chris Burton Jácome Flamenco Ensemble will be performing at Desert Botanical Garden as part of their Music in the Garden Series.

Artists include:  Chris Burton Jácome, Martín Gaxiola, Emerson Laffey, Adrian Goldenthal & Lena Jácome

Concert Details:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

12noon – 2:00pm

$21.00 General Admission

$8.00 Children

Doors open at 11:00am

Open seating

To purchase tickets: www.dbg.org

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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Lorca

Photo Courtesy: Sylvia Hardt Photography

I’m so proud to be included with a talented cast of actors in the fabulous theater production of ‘Lorca in a Green Dress’ presented by Teatro Bravo!  The play is based on the life of Federico Garcia Lorca after his assassination, where he finds himself in his own Purgatory Room, facing his own memories, fears, dreams, characters, poetry and questions from his own life. The play’s surreal nature is heightened by the Flamenco Dancer, who moves to the rhythm of her feet.

Performance Dates:
February 16, 17, 18, 24, 25
March 1, 2, 3
7:30pm

Phoenix Little Theatre
100 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ  85004
(602) 254-2151

Purchase Tickets Here

$18.50, $13.50 for students, seniors and military,
Pay-as-you-can on Preview Night, February 16.

Directed by: Raymond King Shurtz
Artistic Director: Fernando Teson
Lorca
Photo Courtesy: Sylvia Hardt Photography

****

Sincerely,

Lena Jacome
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Here’s a photo taken at Tapa’s Papa Fritas last night in Old Town Scottsdale, with Valentina and Taylor.

Thank you to both Valentina and Taylor for sharing your Saturday night with CBJ Flamenco and for the photo.

Make sure to visit my website: Lena Jácome for upcoming performances and projects!

I’ll be performing tonight and tomorrow night at Tapa’s Papa Fritas.  Tonight, February 10th with flamenco guitarist, Chris Burton Jácome & flamenco dancer, Martin Gaxiola.  Tomorrow Night, February 11th I’ll be performing with Chris Burton Jácome and percussionist, Emerson Laffey.  Stop by! No Cover.  Music begins at 7:30pm and flamenco dancing begins at 8:15pm.

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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Borrego Springs, California was the final performance in January with the CBJ Flamenco Ensemble held at Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center on January 30, 2012. This is a small town situated in the largest desert in the nation, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  It’s a beautiful area.  Below are some images of our time in Borrego Springs, although my phone camera didn’t quite fully capture the beauty of the desert.

Chris with his Coca-Cola.

The sun beating down my face….

This image makes me thirsty.  Beautiful area, but very dry.  Coconut water became my much needed companion during  this trip. This image was taken outside of the hotel.

Sound check.  Jason Martinez, Adrian Goldenthal & Chris Burton Jácome

Do you hear anything?…..

Adios Borrego Springs.

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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My final flamenco dance performance in the mid-west took place at Indian University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) with the CBJ Flamenco Ensemble on January 26, 2012 with a lec/dem on January 27th.  I had some time to visit Indianapolis before flying back to Phoenix……  and the sun peeked out from the clouds briefly to say hello!!!

Downtown Indianapolis

We got to know Meridan very well.  We drove up and down the street several times during our brief stay in Indianapolis.

The Theater.

Bridge.

I was unable to get the entire dinosaur on my phone camera, but I got his foot as we passed the Children’s Museum.

Visiting Indianapolis a week prior to the Super Bowl worked out well for us.  Madonna got half-time and the CBJ Flamenco Ensemble got the Pre-Game Show!

The houses on Meridian

More houses on Meridian

The city is filled with canals.

Another canal.

Squirrel!  I zoomed in on my phone camera… it didn’t come out too clear, but you get the idea.

Fuzzy photo of me & Chris.

On our way to the airport.  I fell asleep but Chris nudged me to take a picture of the city one last time.  I opened my eyes briefly, took the shot and fell immediately back to sleep!

Ha!!!! Emerson Laffey & Adrian Goldenthal at the airport.  We’re indoors and absolutely freezing!

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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This past January was my first visit to Chicago as I performed with The CBJ Flamenco Ensemble at the Old Town School of Folk Music located in Lincoln Park.  The concert was held on January 25, 2012 to a packed house. Though my time in Chicago was brief, I fell head-over-heels with the city.  I can’t wait to visit Chicago again!

Martin Gaxiola & Casey Blake

Chicago Baby!!

As I took all these images of the city, my back seat neighbor, Emerson Laffey is giving me the 411 on the architecture, rich history and interesting facts about the city.

Passing Lake Michigan on our way to the hotel.

Just down the street from our hotel.

Brief, but enjoyable time resting in my hotel room. This is a pretty consistent ‘look’ of my shared hotel room with roomy, Casey Blake.  Her bed generally looks in order…. mine… not so much!

The dressing room.

Casey at the venue, making sure everything is in order.

With Chris getting a quick bite as the sound is getting set up.

Sound check.

Martin

A much needed dinner and my staple post or pre- performance meal: Steak and eggs

This was Chris’ after performance dinner.

I never saw the sun in Chicago.  This photo was taken on our way out the following day. I’m looking forward to seeing much more of Chicago!

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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I spent more time in Lancaster, Ohio with the CBJ Flamenco Ensemble, but somehow accumulated more photos during my brief visit to Olney, Illinois. I’m not sure how I managed to do that, considering I was only there for one full day and two nights!  Olney is known for their white squirrel, hence a few images of the white squirrel in action are included in this blog (images of all white squirrels are courtesy: Julia Chacón).

The theater.

Chris Burton Jácome

Chris & Meagan Chandler during sound check.

Awww. I love this photo.

In between two beautiful ladies: Flamenco dancer, Julia Chacón and flamenco singer, Meagan Chandler

I love this photo too!

Catching Casey Blake in action.

During the evening concert, held January 24, 2012 at Olney Central College. Sitting with amazing dancers, Martín Gaxiola & Julia Chacón. Performance images courtesy: Kevin Ryden.

Julia dancing her beautiful Soléa.

Pictured with two super-talented musicians:  Percussionist, Emerson Laffey and Bassist Adrian Goldenthal.

The beautiful Meagan.

I wish I had performance images of Martin Gaxiola to share.  It’s unfortunate that I don’t since he’s such an AMAZING dancer & performer.

Next stop is Chicago!!!

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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I performed with the CBJ Flamenco Ensemble in Lancaster, Ohio on January 22, 2012. It had been a week since I hadn’t seen the sun.  As a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, I’m fortunate to see the sun most of the year.  It’s an absolutely wonderful way to live.  So you can image my enthusiasm when the sun peeked out while traveling to Lancaster.

The drive to Lancaster, Ohio.  The sun is out!!!!

Brief stop for food before getting on the road again.  During this tour I think we accumulated 1700 miles of driving.  Sounds like fun….

Adrian Goldenthal & Casey Blake

Chris Burton Jacome, me & Casey Blake.  We just found a health food store.  We’re so happy!!!

The Theater.

Great photo of Emerson Laffey & Meagan Chandler.  Images taken at the restaurant are courtesy: Casey Blake.

Julia Chacon, Casey & Chris.

With Martin Gaxiola enjoying great Mexican Food!!!

Yes!! We were all hungry!

Steak, beans and guacamole.  Can’t help but smile!

On the road again.  Next stop – Olney, Illinois.

Sincerely,

Lena Jácome

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