Eva Luna Dramatized at Repertorio Espanol
Storytelling Honored on Stage
By: Susan Hall - Jun 30, 2022
Repertorio Espanol presents big theater in a compact space.
Productions are often not only intense but sprawling in their content. The trick of compacting large stories in a small space is one of the company’s specialties. Eva Luna, Caridad Svich’s apt dramatization of Isabel Allende's big third novel, gives ample opportunity to display these skills.
On stage, we are clearly in a corrupt Latin American country. The set created by dots roots us in reality. The magic, created by Christina Wantanabe in lighting, casts us both in the world and out of it. For the storytelling can take us into a dreamworld. On the set is a riser, providing two level dramatic opportunities. Secret romances occur on both levels. Opposition forces hover unseen.
Eva may be Allende herself, although her birth is a tale told by a woman in the Garden of Eden. Eva’s father was killed by a serpent’s venomous bite. Adam gets it this time, but not before he creates Eve with Consuelo.
Consuelo has a storytelling gift she shares with her daughter. Telling stories helps her survive a difficult life. Scheherazade is enlisted encourage invention. Consuelo’s hair is like fire, appropriated in the jungle where she was found alone as a baby. Award-winning actor Belange Rodriguez is on fire in the role, instructing her daughter on the magical properties of storytelling.
Portraits of a society in traumatic transition and the all too human characters who are impacted are woven well by the dramatist Svich and the director, Estefania Fadul.
Andrea Velasco is a riveting Eva Luna: a lover, a writer, a revolutionary, and above all a storyteller. The mix of magic and realism which characterizes Allende’s storytelling, is woven before us on stage. Allende is careful not to place herself on the magical side of the divide. This is not a fairy tale. Stories are built from shameful memories, painful fears and powerful feelings.
Actors bring a rich variety of characters to life. Zulema is married to a man she never met and depressed. Actor Zulema Clares shows her awaken sexually when her husband’s nephew arrives. She is also arresting as La Senora, proprietress of sex businesses.
Riad Halabi is a surragate father and incestuous lover of Eva, yet a thoughtful man. Jaime Puerto captures this complex role. Rolf is a photographer who fights injustice by filming both sides of the power struggle. Pablo Andrade is captivating in the role.
Aravena is mentor to Rolf, and a realist. Hubert/Rogelio and Eva meet as street urchins. He fights an anti-corruption campaign and predictably becomes corrupt when he reaches power. Gonzalo Trigueros gives us the turn. He is on point in multiple characters: Kamal and Coro.
Mimi is a woman trapped in a man’s body. She forcefully presents her 'arse,' and is a kind woman caring for Eva. While she holds a patriarchal concept of women’s role, she preaches the changing role of women. Fernando Viera gives her a sensual presence.
The larger story of Latin America is ever present. Eva fights the war which is her life with the weapon of joy, so that life does not escape. Eva Luna gives us the tapestry of a woman's soul.
The importance of storytelling in our lives pervades the work of Repertorio. It is a magical feature of Eva Luna.
Repertorio Español, one of New York’s most renowned Latin theatre companies, will present the stage adaptation of Eva Luna by Caridad Svich again in August. Tickets available here.