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Review: CASA VALENTINA at The Weekend Theater will make you laugh, cry, think, and act

Review: CASA VALENTINA at The Weekend Theater will make you laugh, cry, think, and act

This production runs through Aug. 7

Review: CASA VALENTINA at The Weekend Theater will make you laugh, cry, think, and act So let me tell you how The Weekend Theater, 1001 West 7th St, in Little Rock, chooses their programming. They will perform a couple of well-known productions a year, but then will add in plays that may not necessarily be mainstream but are stories that need to be told. CASA VALENTINA, written by the wonderful Harvey Fierstein and directed by Byron Taylor, is one of those stories and is playing through August 7th.

Set in the Catskills in the early 1960s, transvestites-straight men in women's clothing- spend their weekends together in a hotel run by George/Valentina (Paul Bowling) and his wife Rita (Loni Presley Bean), which is a safe haven for these men to let their inner woman roam openly without being exposed in their normal white-collar worlds. New guy Jonathan/Miranda (Aaron Burnside), enters this world confused but needing a place to be himself/herself and comes on a weekend when Isadore/Charlotte (Scott Doss) wants to start a sorority where the government will acknowledge the group as part of society. This would mean that the group would have to give their real names and addresses, leaving them vulnerable to outside judgement and repercussions. The regulars of theReview: CASA VALENTINA at The Weekend Theater will make you laugh, cry, think, and act resort- Theodore/Terry (Alan Malcolm), Michael/Gloria (Dakota Mansfield), The Judge/Amy (Jim Watkins) and Albert/Bessie (Tommie Tinker) value their anonymity and do not like the idea. Valentina wants the sorority, mainly because she wants the backing of Charlotte for her resort since they are out of money. The weekend progresses, there is some blackmail going on, and someone is punched and needs to go to the hospital. What will become of the resort and its people?

At first glance you would think that this is a light-hearted story strictly about cross-dressing men having a good time, but it goes much deeper than that and gets serious quickly. CASA VALENTINA is about acceptance, identity, and equality. It is also about their relationships with themselves, each other, and their families and society. George/Valentina and Rita seem to have the perfect marriage-Rita accepts George and his needs, and he depends on Rita to keep everything running smoothly. However, in the end you find out that Rita has an underlying fear that George will embrace Valentina and never return. Also, near the end, The Judge's daughter Eleanor (Shaina Tippit) comes to the resort to pick up her father's things and lets the people know how she has felt her whole life knowing that this is her father's favorite thing to do away from the family. Of course, everyone struggles with their identity, but Jonathan struggles the most saying he doesn't belong at the resort, yet he fears being open about his needs with his wife. The shocker of the story though, is that Charlotte wants transvestites to have societal acceptance, but not drag queens-gay men in women's clothing. Charlotte is adamantly appalled by homosexual activity and uses explicit photos to threaten The Judge in giving his support of the sorority.

The whole cast is a wonderful group of storytellers who are committed to their characters. They are thoughtful, reactive, and pretty funny at times. I enjoyed how when we entered the theater, there were actors getting ready on stage. This is not the first time this theater has had an immersive experience as a preshow of sorts. I loved it! It's the extra added details that takes theater-going to an art form. Bravo!

Whether you are straight/gay/or whatever your preference, this thought-provoking play will have you questioning just how open you are about your view on yourself and on society. Come see the show, grow as a person, but don't bring the kids. For tickets, visit the Weekend Theater's website at weekendtheater.org.

Thank you to Byron Taylor of Byron Taylor Studio Fine Arts for the wonderful pictures. Check out their website at www.byrontaylor.com for a complete list of services provided.

Review: CASA VALENTINA at The Weekend Theater will make you laugh, cry, think, and act




From This Author - Theresa Bertram

Prior to becoming a writer for Broadway World, Theresa Bertram has had an extensive career in the media/entertainment business. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada to a professional poker-playing mother, Theresa’s... (read more about this author)


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