by Bob Anthony
by Barbara Mackay (Special to The Examiner)
DC Theatre Scene,
Massabny, by Rich Massabny
by Celia Wren
Teatro de la Luna is presenting a gem of a comedy with its "Rosa de Dos Aromas" ("Two Scented Rose") (To 6/13) with two terrific comediennes (Karen Morales Chacana and Anabel Marcano) who have excellent timing to keep the laughs rolling along. Director Mario Marcel and the girls developed some wonderful business throughout especially in the "drunk" scenes even getting a finger stuck in a liquor bottle and vainly trying to free it. The story is about two women who discover they loved the same guy who is imprisoned so they cleverly go through tactics to get bond money or let him perish in prison where he might hopefully be screwed by fellow prisoners as a comeuppance. Playwright Emilio Carballido (who unfortunately died in 2008) had an excellent insight into the psyche of women particularly their vulnerability in love and sex. His strongest scene in this play is the discussion of eunuchs in a pasha's court as the ladies count out the bail money...wonderful metaphors! The three sets by Mario Marcel fit comfortably in the theater and his song selection was wonderfully appropriate to the themes. Ayun Fedorcha continues to show masterful lighting. This is a joyful evening of theater and great for whole family attendance. The only thing desired was a look at this imprisoned lothario as he surely would have turned out to be a nerdish Woody Allen which would have brought out gales of laughter from the audience.
‘Rose:’ Classic tale of one man, two women
beautician work together to find their own
definition of freedom
"Rosa de Dos Aromas" ("Two-Scented
Rose") is an entertaining piquant work, produced by
Arlington’ Teatro de la Luna. Written by Mexican
playwright Emilio Carballido, it begins with two very
different women meeting by chance at a jail, waiting to
see their imprisoned men. One is a teacher/translator,
the other a beautician.
Although they apparently
have nothing in common, by the end of the first scene
it’s clear that they share something very important: a
man. One is married to him; one lives with him; both
have children by him.
But Carballido is not a
writer of melodrama, so once the initial jealousy and
anger has passed, the two women plot to raise enough
money so they can bribe a lawyer to free their shared
lover. They also get better acquainted. They dine
together, get drunk together and eventually liberate
themselves from their fear of what will happen when
their mutual “husband” is out of jail.
Under the direction of
Mario Marcel, the production is crisp and moves briskly.
The writer, Gabriela (Anabel Marcano), at first comes
across as smart but serious and guarded, refusing to
trust the cosmetician. But she slowly realizes that two
angry women are more powerful than one. Marcanos is
particularly effective in the scene where she gets drunk
and reveals her true feelings for her husband.
The other character,
named Marlene (Karen Morales-Chacana), is a totally
different type – open, a little goofy, ready to approach
Gabriela from the start. The play works primarily
because Marcano and Morales-Chacana so vividly portray
rivals who learn to collaborate.
Marcel’s set creates
several playing areas on different levels. Coupled with
Ayun Fedorcha’s lighting design, it gives a potentially
static play a sense of movement.
The main point of “Two
Scented Rose” comes toward the end, when both women are
considering the definition of freedom. It’s a short,
punchy discussion which quickly turns the play upside
down. With a comic resolution that all audiences – women
and men – should appreciate, Gabriela and Marlene take
their lives into their own hands and become winners
instead of victims.
Washington’s Liveliest Theatre Website
Rosa de dos Aromas (Two-Scented Rose)
Two young women sit, waiting, on a bench outside a prison. They make friendly small talk until both discover they love the same man, Marco Antonio Lazur. All at once, they’re enemies. Who gets the guy in the end? Back up and reread the title, Rosa de dos Aromas, and inhale the rose with all its mysterious, multi-layered petals. The story is an inspiring parable.
On the surface, the play by the celebrated Mexican playwright, Emilio Carballido, is a comedy about two women, one, a married woman, a wife in the traditional sense, and the other, a concubine, or kept woman, who seek to bail their shared lover out of jail. The wife, Gabriela (Anabel Marcano), a no-nonsense, exacting translator, and mother of three sons, describes herself as divorced, although in reality, she is still married to Lazur, who faces a ten-year sentence for an alleged rape of an underage girl. The other woman, Marlene (Karen Morales-Chacana), named after the 20th century film goddess and femme fatale Marlene Dietrich, has never married. A hairdresser who operates a beauty salon, Marlene is Marco’s mistress, and has borne him two sons.
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Broadcast 2009: Thurs., 5/28, 6 p.m.;
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TEATRO De La LUNA
"Two Scented Rose" ("Rosa de dos Aromas")
I’ve seen so many wonderful productions by Teatro De La Luna,
and its current play, "Two-Scented
Rose," is right up there. Written by Mexican playwright
Emilio Carballido, this touching comedy stars just two women,
Teatro regular Anabel Marcano as Gabriela and making her
Teatro debut, Karen Morales-Chacana as Marlene. I have to say I
can’t remember any two actors working better together. The premise
Rose" is about two women, unknown to each other, discover they
are married to the same man who is in prison. Realizing they’ve been
deceived by this guy, the two bond together to see if they can get
some money. Seeing these gals having a ball laughing about their
circumstances is so infectious and appealing. The lighting is
important in the play and Ayun Fedorcha does a brilliant job. And,
Teatro’s director, Mario Marcel, did a splendid job as the
scenes moved from one set to another. We know the talents of Marcano
and are hoping Teatro doesn’t let newcomer Morales-Chacana
get too far away. "Two-Scented Rose" runs through June 13 at
Gunston Arts Center.
Delightfully Thorny Women at Heart of 'Rosa'
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The handbag, that modern essential, gets a turn in the spotlight in Teatro de la Luna's latest production, "Rosa de Dos Aromas" ("Two-Scented Rose").
Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido's lightweight, none-too-succinct comedy (performed in Spanish with English surtitles) flings together two dissimilar women: a dimwitted floozy and a Brecht-quoting intellectual. In a smart bit of stage business in the play's opening scene -- set in a jail's waiting room -- director Mario Marcel has the gals rifle systematically through their pocketbooks as they stand at opposite ends of a bench, searching for smoking paraphernalia. Yin and yang these ladies may be, but they at least share a slavish devotion to their purses.
It turns out that Gabriela (Anabel Marcano), a brainy translator, and Marlene (Karen Morales-Chacana), a giddy salon owner, have even more in common: They live with the same man. As the play's fluffily ironic narrative wends toward a twist ending, the rivals' insult-riddled spats yield to soul-searching, financial schemes and camaraderie.
An eminent dramatist who died last year, Carballido relayed his methodically plotted tale in episodic scenes that achieve only modest comic momentum, and the relatively slender characterizations keep the interpersonal dynamics from being gripping, a few touching moments aside.
So this production's chief pleasure lies in watching Marcano's uptight Gabriela -- first glimpsed in a demure black suit and shiny loafers -- plunge into harebrained plans and booze-soaked self-pity. A scene in which she staggers around in a bathrobe, clutching a bottle of rum, doubling over with cackled laughter and fantasizing about widowhood, is a hoot. But the actress also nails Gabriela's subdued impatience and angst.
Morales-Chacana paints Marlene in broader strokes, gesticulating wildly as she preens and gushes about matters ranging from love and child-rearing to hair treatments and pork-roast recipes. Costume designers Rosita Becker and Nucky Walder round out the character with gold shoes, super-skinny trousers, a tightly belted leopard-print tunic and other appropriately flashy garb.
Acting as scenic designer, Marcel supplies a commodious two-level set, with areas representing Marlene's salon, Gabriela's apartment and the jail (whose cell-bar shadows are the work of lighting designer Ayun Fedorcha). There's also a table-filled nook representing the run-down cafe where Marlene and Gabriela's thorny rapport takes a turn for the better. "They have very good teas," Gabriela remarks. "Which one are you having?"
"Old towel. And you?" Marlene rejoins.
"Dirty cook pot."
Thus do welcome feminist resonances filter into the story. After all, who needs a man when you have a sturdy handbag and a female chum with a sense of humor?