In “Chicanas, Cholas, y Chisme,” a series of skits written and directed by Latina women, the focus lies on the struggles and empowerment of Chicanas.
The short play festival, in its second year at Casa 0101 Theatre, is being presented to celebrate Women’s Herstory Month (History) with final performances this weekend.
The first skit begins on what could be any street in Boyle Heights, with two young Latina girls hanging out, and passing the time.
While the girls talk about the everyday things going on in their lives, the “chismes,” or the conversation, turns into something heavier. They go from talking about eating chips, to one of the girls talking about being molested as a child.
In the series of works, you see comical situations that turn into tragic, real life events. They deal with issues such as molestation, sexuality, life threatening diseases, and dysfunctional family life. All focus on the strength and intelligence of women.
For me, a few of the skits really hit home and made me emotional. One, in particular, deals with the confusion and the inner struggle of sexuality and what truly makes us happy.
It focused on the issue of where you are in life and what you are doing to fulfill your inner-self, and not whether you are straight or lesbian or gay. I thought it was well written and well portrayed by the actresses.
Many of the skits had to do with the empowerment of women, especially Chicanas, and how we all need to stand for what we believe in and focus on our uniqueness and passions.
Sometimes, as Chicanas or Latina women, once we become mothers, we get stuck in that role–but that is not the only part of that needs to be nurtured. We struggle with our day-to-day–our jobs and family life. But we forget that the woman across the street can either be going through the same thing or has it a bit worse. We wouldn’t know that because most of the time, we are taught to keep what is going on inside the house and keep our business to ourselves (“no andes de chismosa”).
The plays were smart and well articulated in terms of our way of life in Boyle Heights. Many times as Latinas living in a community like Boyle Heights, we feel alone in our struggles. The play shows how we are not alone, we all struggle, we all have our passions, and we all have our moments of doubt, but the strength and perseverance of women is unlike any other.
Featured works include: “How Did I Get Here” by Lauren Ballesteros; “Yo Soy Joaquina” by Maria G. Martinez; “Nuestra Senora De La Gran Pena,” by Mariana Herrera; “Frankenstein is Not Real He is My Brother in law!” by Camelita Maldonado, and several more.
Final performances of the production are this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at CASA0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. Performances Friday and Saturday are at 8p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.
Maria Arredondo is a full-time working mom who always finds time to sit and have a meal with her family. Maria was born and raised in Boyle Heights, where she recently bought a home and lives with her boyfriend, two kids and her boyfriend’s sister. She calls herself an “Accidental Foodie” and loves to write.