- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
Hungry Woman is Josefina Lopez’s latest play.
The play is a look at a Latina from Los Angeles who flees to when her life, her love, the very meaning of her life, is in jeopardy.
Hungry Women, based on her novel of the same name, opened this week at Casa 0101, the theater she founded in Boyle Heights. The play is often charming and the central character, Canela (Rachel Gonzalez), is a compelling actress.
The story it tells seems as much fantasy as reality, with a heart-felt plea for women’s rights and equality. The stereotypical characters seem loosely drawn from a comic book.
Directed by Corky Dominguez, it is set on several plain white platforms are changed from a cooking school to an airplane terminal to a bathroom, as the play demands. Canela, who directly addresses the audience much of the time, lets us know where she and when the action happens.
Canela is a young journalist, who goes to Paris to escape marriage and find herself. The story is properly compelling in outline, but takes too long to tell. It also is more than a little self-indulgent. We know her and like her, but her troubles take on a self-indulgence that is sometimes annoying. Yes, she is successful, and yes, she has problems, but Rodriguez plays everything for laughs, and the play is perhaps half-an-hour too long. Perhaps Lopez and Dominguez need to envision some large cuts.
Linda Lopez is Canela’s long-suffering mother, but she endures. Others in the cast include Mary Mendoza, as a spirit who haunts the whole story, La Calaca Flaca, and takes many roles. A host and nine others do double, triple and quadruple duty as the story unfolds. They also move the sets and everything works wonderfully well.
Sohail e. Najafi is lighting designer and Cesar Holquin is credited with designing the set and photo images: between them the play is seamless and impressive, from the projected pictures of Paris to effective moonlight.
Hungry Woman has its heart in the right place, but it has too much to say with too many things to focus on any one effectively: Is it a play about one woman’s journey or about how woman are treated everywhere? Is it a story about a finally successful life or a commentary on political issues? Unfortunately Hungry Woman seems unable to decide.
Tickets are $20, $17 for seniors, $15 for students and Boyle Heights residents. Performances are at 8 p.m. June 28 and 29, and at 5 p.m. June.
Venue: Casa 0101 Theater
Location: 2102 First St., Boyle Heights