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Review: ENFRASCADA is an Engaging Story about the Magic of Women

Review: ENFRASCADA is an Engaging Story about the Magic of Women
l-r: Bárbara Mojica, Jojanie Moreno, Minerva Villa,
Karina Dominguez (seated), Eva McQuade,
and Emily McDougall. Photo by Erich Petersen.

The latest offering from Austin's Teatro Vivo is ENFRASCADA, a comedic tale of love, heartbreak, and the magical relationships of women. Written by Tanya Saracho, this dark comedy premiered as a part of the 2011 Clubbed Thumb Summerworks in New York City under the direction of Jerry Ruiz.

When Alicia (Karina Dominguez) discovers her longtime boyfriend has cheated on her, she is understandably devasted. Her best friends, Carolina (Emily McDougall) and Yesenia (Minerva Villa) are determined to help her move on. After some initial resistance, the friends convince Alicia to visit their "Senoras," (Jojanie Moreno and Bárbara Mojica) for some mystical guidance. Although the women offer her wise advice, heartbroken Alicia becomes obsessed with reconciling with her ex-boyfriend. With the help of Carolina, Yesenia, and cousin, Lulu (Eva McQuade), Alicia must learn the difference between creating the result you want, versus accepting the one you need.

Performances by the all-female cast throughout the production are vibrant, relatable, and full of humor. The dynamic report between leads, Karina Dominguez, Emily McDougall, and Minerva Villa as three best friends is witty, natural, and charming. Eva McQuade as quirky cousin, Lulu is hilarious and endearing with a mix of humorous one-liners and insightful monologues. Rounding out the cast, Bárbara Mojica and Jojanie Moreno play several roles, including the sharp-witted Senoras, with conviction and focus and bring new energy to each character they inhabit. Each of these women plays vital roles in the storytelling, and to each other during the two-act play.

Director, Claudia M. Chavez, has staged this production to compliment Saracho's women-centered work. The text does not shy away from highlighting the good and bad aspects of the characters and neither does Chavez. She celebrates these women as complex, multidimensional beings, with each character having their own unique beauty, strength, and flaws.

Scenic design by Gerado de la Cruz is minimal, modern, and beautiful. The crisp white stage is adorned with bright, vibrant colors in the set pieces and props. De la Cruz's stage is complemented by lighting design by Patrick Anthony that transports the characters from various settings like an Outdoor amphitheater, nightclub, and Lulu's living room.

Teatro Vivo should be commended for this production. While there is no shortage of great stories created by and about women, these works are often overlooked and less frequently produced. It is now more important than ever for women focused theatre, particularly about women of color, to be encouraged and brought to the forefront. ENFRASCADA is a comedic, engaging story about the magic and power of women. With a relatable story of heartbreak, friendship, and healing, this show will be appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who has ever survived a breakup.

ENFRASCADA is now running at The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (600 River Street 78701) through September 24th. Thursdays* through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm

Approximate running time: 2 hours with one 10-minute intermission

*Contains strong language and adult themes.

Tickets: $20-$25*

*All Thursday Shows are eligible for "Pay what you wish" at the theatre one hour before show time.

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From This Author - Lacey Cannon Gonzales