Linda López McAlister wanted to do something different with her next project. And she did.
López McAlister is producing “Aye, No!,” which is opening the season for “Siembra Latino Theater Series” at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Liz Coronado Castillo’s bilingual farce “Aye, No!” follows Alicia, a Latina from a small town in Texas, who goes off to college and falls in love with Cathy, an Anglo woman.
As the play opens, Alicia is bringing Cathy home to introduce her to her abuelita (grandmother) and tías (aunts) who raised her.
They, of course, think that the “friend” she is bringing is a boyfriend or fiancé. When they discover the truth, they are so horrified that they decide to find a curandero to cure her of “the gay.”
But each of the lesbian and gay characters in the story has a drag queen fairy godmother to help out, and when the fairy godmothers recruit a friend to pretend to be a curandero, hilarity ensues.
López McAlister says she enlisted the help of Albuquerque drag troupe The Dolls to play the fairy godmothers.
“I wanted to produce this play because it’s rare to see a fun, positive coming-out story on stage, especially one about a Hispanic family, and even in 2015, coming out to one’s traditional family can be hard to do,” she says.
Valli Marie Rivera is directing the play. She says it’s a comedy that expresses serious messages about identity, race, gender, cultural inequalities and family tradition.
“These messages are interwoven in a narrative about family and community in a platform open for a continuing conversation,” Rivera says. “Three playful drag queens, Zereda, Starkisha and Starlinda, represent the community that has already made the journey of coming out.”
In order to enable local LGBTQ young people to see the show, López McAlister launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to offer free tickets through several organizations serving LGBTQ youth in Albuquerque. Through the campaign she was able to raise $1,800 to buy out the theater for the teens.
“This play gets some of these teens out to the theater,” she says. “For some it’s their first time out there. It also is a play that will resonate with them. It’ll help them know that they aren’t alone in the way they are feeling. This play will resonate with a lot of different audiences.”