- Terelle Jerricks
By John Farrell, Theatre Critic
Federico Garcia Lorca is better known in the United States for his death than his life. The poet and dramatist was murdered by fascist soldiers at the beginning of the Spanish civil war. His body was never found.
Recently Long Beach Opera offered Ainadmar, an opera by Osvaldo Golijov that explored his life and death. It’s his afterlife that is the important part in Lorca in a Green Dress. This ambitious surrealist look at Lorca’s forty-day long passage through Purgatorio written by Nilo Cruz, was directed by Jennifer Sage Holmes and it stars five… yes, five different actors as the dead poet, depicting every part of himself including his sexual desires (Lorca was gay). Two women also play parts of his very diverse character. The production is currently being staged at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights
Lorca himself (at least as we see him) is Adrian Gonzalez, a handsome young man who at first doesn’t believe he is dead at all, despite his bloody clothes. Then he doesn’t want to cooperate with the other Lorcas gathered in the Lorca Room to aid his passage to heaven. If you don’t quite get the poet in him, you do get the young man whose life has ended early and who resents that fact and the various versions of himself he meets after death.
The versions that are Lorca in in a green dress are, Josh Domingo as Lorca in bicycle pants, two women,Carmelita Maldonado and Teresa Mesa are also Lorca, and Rajesh Gopie is Lorca in a white suit. There are also a fascist General (Serafin Falcon) and a sergeant (Loren Fenton) plus a flamenco dancer (Alejandra Flores.) They are all there to help the poet explore his life, and not incidentally to earn points so they too may eventually move on to their own next levels.
On a spare stage with a guitarist (Gerardo Morales) providing a musical counterpoint, Lorca deals with his murder with his powerful and provocative poetry and with his regrets. It’s a simple production done with on-stage costume changes and plenty of humor. But there is also more than a little serious consideration of Lorca’s life and of the fascists who murdered him for his pro-Gypsy poetry and his gay lifestyle.
Director Holmes uses the original music written for this production by Christopher Davis, and original lyrics by by playwright Cruz, as part of the package she presents. It’s up to you to come to an understanding of this complex, tragic and heroic figure.
Liminal, a free art exhibit from the Jean Dealeage Gallery, is on display at Casa 0101 during the run of the play.
Tickets are $20 general admission, $17 for students,seniors and groups of ten or more, $15 for Boyle Heights residents with identification. Performances are Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 29 at 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m. through August 26.
Details: (323) 263-7684, www.casa0101.org
Venue: The New Casa 0101 Theater
Location: 2102 E. First St., Boyle Heights