I went to see a dramatized reading of Señora Independencia last Friday at the National Museum of Mexican Art. We certainly need more productions in Spanish in Chicago. The play was by the Carlos Theater Productions starring Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez as la señora Independencia. You may remember her as the Guatemalan girl Rosa Xuncax in the 1983 movie El norte. Considering this was only a dramatic reading, I was impressed by the performances of all the actors. I seemed to always focus on the scripts the actors held in their hands and whether or not they read from the scripts. This detracted from enjoyment a little, but very little. The writing was a little dense and heavy-handed. The playwright needed to illustrate with more concrete examples of how Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez contributed to Mexican independence from Spain. I was also bothered by the stage prop of a repeating rifle that was constantly referred to as an escopeta. The characters constantly referred to cartuches or cartridges for the ammo. The sight of the repeating rifle and the mention of cartridges appear to be anachronisms. Perhaps this play is merely in its initials stages and all these details will be resolved.
Another pet peeve I had about the play was how we were admitted to the theater. Above, I have posted my ticket, or rather what’s left of it, as evidence of my attendance of this performance. This used to be a beautiful ticket before it was mutilated. Many people, as they handed over their tickets, asked to keep them as souvenirs. But they were all brutally ripped in half. Some theater goers even shrieked as the ticket was ripped. I, I’m proud to say, was able to control myself, despite feeling my ticket’s pain.
On the plus side, complimentary appetizers and refreshments were served while we waited to be seated in the theater. Yes, I had a couple of glasses of white zinfandel. I had never been to a Carlos Theater Production before, but if they are all like this, I will certainly see more of their productions. If you ever have the opportunity to see this play, by all means go see it! Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez gave a superb performance with the help of her supporting cast.