Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Digging Up the Dirt" at Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble

Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble has teamed up with See-what Productions to present this World Premiere play by Cherrie Moraga.

The subtitle "An Old Story of Loving to Death," sets up two parallel tales, one of which echoes closely the well-documented murder of Selena, the "Queen of Tejano music," by the president of her fan club. The other is the murder of a woman by her son, for reasons that are not completely clear, but may relate to her relationship to "The Poet," a woman she loved who narrates much of the play.

Author Moraga suggests that the death of Sirena (Selena) is also related to lesbian love for her by her friend and admirer Josefa, and the complexities of lesbian relationships comprise the central theme of the play--for better and for worse.

I say that because the excellent cast have brought to life Moraga's knack for capturing tender and awkward moments between lovers with sensitivity and humor. Yet on a few occasions the author seems to lack the confidence to allow her characters and their story to stand on their own, opting to comment, through the mouthpiece of The Poet, about the difficulty of living life as a Latina lesbian.

Nevertheless, this is the strongest production I've seen so far at the seven year old Breath of Fire company, marked by a standout performance by Adelina Anthony (The Poet) who also co-directed with the author and an equally fine cast across the board. It was also great to see they had a full house and a really diverse audience.

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