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Anaya play looks at life in old N.M.

From left, Mario Moreno is Augustin, Rosa Linda’s domineering father, Ashley Weingardt is Rosa Linda 
and Carmela Roybal is Elena, her mother, in Rudolfo Anaya’s “Rosa Linda.” (Courtesy of Alan Mitchell photography)
From left, Mario Moreno is Augustin, Rosa Linda’s domineering father, Ashley Weingardt is Rosa Linda and Carmela Roybal is Elena, her mother, in Rudolfo Anaya’s “Rosa Linda.” (Courtesy of Alan Mitchell photography)
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The play, “Rosa Linda,” a look at coming of age at the beginning of the 20th century, is a different slice of life from author Rudolfo Anaya.

“Anaya will surprise New Mexico audiences with this explosive story of love, lust, betrayal and redemption,” says a news release about the joint Vortex Theatre and National Hispanic Cultural Center production.

“It’s a story of love and obsession, of infidelity and dark secrets,” says director Valli Marie Rivera, who also directed Anaya’s “Bless Me Ultima,” and “The Farolitos of Christmas,” as well as other bilingual plays in the United States, France and through Latin America.

If you go
WHAT: “Rosa Linda,” the premiere of Rudolfo Anaya’s play
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 and 2 p.m. April 21
WHERE: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 Fourth SW
HOW MUCH: Tickets, $17, call NHCC box office at 724-4771 or visit www.nhccnm.org
ADVISORY: Adult themes

Rivera says Anaya started “Rosa Linda,” about 30 years ago and recently returned to it to polish it for the upcoming production.

“It’s been such a blessing to be in on this project,” Rivera says. “I know the ins and outs. I have even more respect for el maestro, Rudolfo Anaya. He’s always writing day and night.”

The character, Rosa Linda, a young woman living on a northern New Mexico ranch, is anxious to break free of her father’s controlling traditions and marry whom she wants. The daughter and father clash and long-kept secrets erupt in this volatile family drama set amid a Gypsy celebration, brimming with flamenco and uncanny prophecies.

Anaya says in an email that the play is set in “a rural landscape around the turn of the century when small circuses still came to villages.”

He says he hopes the audience agrees that the characters are complex and intriguing: “It helps to know Nuevo Mexicano folklore and that when we produce contemporary literature we enlarge our poetic history. It might also help to know the Brothers Grimm collection of Germanic folklore, and to understand that the folklore from communities around the world includes both the good and the dreadful. Didn’t Medea kill her children? Didn’t our Llorona drown her children?”

Rivera says the characters are so real that “you don’t want to let them go. These are real people. It could be anytime, anywhere, but we get a glimpse back into old New Mexico. It’s about the clash of traditional versus modern ways. It has a universal message of redemption and forgiveness.”

She says that she is looking to produce the play around New Mexico in other venues beyond the three performances scheduled for the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“It could go anywhere,” she says. “It touches the lives of everyone who sees it.”

The Jesus Munos Casa Flamenca troupe performs in the play that features actors Ashley Weingardt, Mario Moreno, Carmela Roybal, Tommy Roman, Juanita Sena-Shannon and Maria Bustamante, Rivera says.

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