2003 ... CAMINANDO SUEÑOS ... 2004



VII Festival

Feb 4  - Mar 13,  2004


Puerto Rico



Costa Rica


Washington Post

Teatro de la Luna's Hot Hot Hot Nights

By Tricia Olszewski
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, February 14, 2004; Page C01

Last weekend at Arlington's Gunston Arts Center, performer Angela Meyer sang a few songs, told a few stories, and generally worked the room like a seasoned Vegas lounge act.

Meyer plays three characters in "Tres Noches Tropicales y Una Vida de Infierno" ("Three Tropical Nights and a Hellish Life"), the one-woman show that opened Teatro de la Luna's seventh annual International Festival of Hispanic Theater.

Every Friday and Saturday through March 13, the company is presenting works from various Spanish-speaking countries.
The theme of this year's festival is "Theater for the People," and if its first crowd-pleasing offering is any indication, the motif is apt. "Tres Noches Tropicales," written and directed by Puerto Rican dramatist (and honorary festival president) Myrna Casas, offers a slice out of the lives of Raquelita, a well-baubled Cuban housewife; Yaya, a trashy "masseuse"; and Gloria, a hopelessly drunk tarot-card reader.

Each character is outfitted brightly, but the dominant shade of the show is blue. "Tres Noches Tropicales" frequently crosses into NC-17 territory as the women talk about casual sex, infidelity and rentable favors. The setting is a Puerto Rican club where Raquelita has come to hear "Angela Meyer" speak, because Angela "knows about keeping peace between the sexes." When an announcement is made that Ms. Meyer has canceled her appearance, the tastefully appointed Raquelita conspiratorially launches into her own life story, rife with bad sex, rich husbands and a young girl she refers to as "that little [expletive]."

When Raquelita has to go, Yaya shows up, also hoping to get advice from Ms. Meyer -- though she expects to learn "about sex and how to do it better." Meyer-the-performer is now recognizable only by her gravelly voice as she adopts the cocky, loose-limbed physicality of a fast-talking hooker who can switch gears from chatty to seductive in an instant, repeatedly punctuating her shtick with "Oh my gawd." Gloria, who subsequently shows up looking for Yaya but at this point would be happy just to find a bathroom, is also sharply drawn.

Meyer's Gloria stumbles onto the stage, slurs as she leads the audience in singalongs and runs her hands over tired eyes and mussed hair with the perfect imprecision of the inebriated.

Casas's script -- in Spanish with English translation available via headset -- leaves plenty of room for improvisation, which Meyer skillfully uses. The short work is stretched to nearly two hours as Meyer's characters interact with audience members -- offering a gentleman her services as Yaya, for example, or a swig out of her purse-size liquor bottle as Gloria. The audience's English speakers, however, may have felt shortchanged, as Meyer's apparently hilarious off-the-cuff remarks often went untranslated.

Though it's too late to catch Meyer's stellar performance, up next in the festival is "Polacos" ("The Polish"), an absurdist comedy from Barcelona that's being staged through tonight. Also on the roster for the coming weeks are "La Calle de la Gran Ocasion" ("The Street of Last Chances"), a "realistic comedy" from Costa Rica; "America," a light satire from Madrid; "Rifar el Corazon" ("Heartstrings"), a black comedy from Uruguay; and "Perejiles" (the English title is "Chameleons"), a musical comedy from Argentina.

Teatro de la Luna describes most of these shows as appropriate for ages 16 and older, but the festival is offering a bit of family fare, too: On Saturday mornings, the Instituto de Mexico will host two pieces of children's theater, "Don Anacleto Avaro" ("Don Anacleto the Miser") and "La Caja de Sorpresas" ("The Box of Surprises"). These performances will be offered without English translation.

VII International Festival of Hispanic Theater, at Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St., Arlington, through March 13. Visit www.teatrodelaluna.org for more information.


Teatro de la Luna starts off its annual International Festival of Hispanic Theater with a big bang with the amazing one-person show by Puerto Rican Angela Meyer in "Three Tropical Nights and a Hellish Life". She is one of the most skilled comedians to grace the stage in many a year. She mixes riotous comedy, warm comedy and poignant emotional scenes with Valentine love across the footlights...which was returned by this full audience at the Saturday matinee. She basically portrays three quirky women who have conflicting love/hate relations with the male sex and wows the audience with her range of talent. Her greatest success comes with the third woman as she manages a 30 minute drunk monologue which is always the most difficult of stage portrayals. This is a highly recommended show and Teatro de la Luna should get her back for a long run instead of the three days so she can qualify for award programs. FLASH! GREAT NEWS! ANGELA MEYER WILL BE RETURNING TO THE FESTIVAL TO REPLACE THE ARGENTINIAN ACTORS ON MARCH 12 AND 13. A DO-NOT-MISS EVENT!

A Barcelona, Spanish trio is presenting "The Polish" as the second presentation of the festival. Andreu Banus and Joan Fernandez are two delightful comedian/pantomimists who do a black comedy routine that finely satirizes life features from modern art movement to Skinner's operant conditioning. There is gem after gem from these two wild and crazy guys...the top one being the creation of famous art works by an army of cockroaches. Symbols flow in floods especially the one character who represents a "tree of life" or "tree of knowledge" while standing in a huge planter. Ana Perez manages a short but charming pistol packing Red Ridinghood. The audience loved this one written by Pere Calders and Slawomir Mrozek (thus the odd title). (Festival weekends to 2/28)

The third play of the Festival is Luisa Josefina Hernandez's one act playlet "The Street of Last Chances" (Costa Rica) that follows two potential romantics along the "road to romance" as they participate in vignettes of contrastive people seeking a mate. It is a pleasant romantic romp by two very affective young adults who range from physical deformity to fantasy fairy tale characters. Maria Silva is a strong stage presence with one of the most seductive walks yet seen on stage and Gustavo Rojas nicely fits the romantic matinee idol although he tends to be a little stiff on stage. His best relaxation came through as the "poet" character although all of his characters were most engaging. Fortunately the playlet never moved into soap opera mode yet one wished that their travels might have been more romantically realized...perhaps the playwright will write a sequel to fulfill our yearnings that were not realized during this 90 minute production.



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