ENTRE VILLA Y UNA MUJER DESNUDA
(Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman)
Written by Sabina Berman
A MiracleMainstage production presented in Spanish with English subtitles at all performances
In this modern comedy, Gina wants more out of her casual relationship with Adrián, a liberal intellectual who’s in it only for some good sex. Adrián shies away from any form of commitment — that is, until Gina takes up with a younger, sensitive lover. That’s when the spirit of Mexico’s most famous revolutionary rides again, appearing as Adrián’s macho conscience ready to do anything to win this battle of the sexes.
Completely in Spanish — with subtitles projected above the stage in English — this accessible comedy is the perfect immersion experience for high school and college students of Spanish, contemporary Mexican culture, gender studies and world theatre.
Theater review: Miracle's 'Entre Villa Y Una Mujer Desnuda' asks: Who has the upper hand?
By Michael McGregor, Special to The Oregonian.
February 13, 2010, 7:50PM
The fluidity and confusion of gender roles and politics in modern Mexico are on humorous display in "Entre Villa Y Una Mujer Desnuda," an amusing and well-acted comedy by one of Mexico's best contemporary playwrights, Sabina Berman.
When selfish intellectual Adrian loses his late-night lover, Gina, to a younger man, Mexico's folkloric outlaw-hero Pancho Villa comes to the rescue once again. This time, though, Villa's brash machismo meets its match: a proud, peeved, empowered woman.
When we first meet Gina, she seems little more than a love-struck woman enchanted by a man who wants nothing but sex from her. Adrian, on the other hand, seems a powerful figure: a successful journalist and teacher of Mexican history who's writing a book about Pancho Villa.
As the play goes on, we learn that Gina owns a business, has a son at Harvard, and has an admirer her son's age. Encouraged by her friend Andrea, whose privileged grandfather helped defeat Pancho Villa, she demands a commitment from Adrian, who acquiesces, then disappears.
When Adrian reappears three months later, he finds that Gina has transferred her interest to the younger man. Enter Pancho Villa -- in peasant dress and floppy hat, pistol in hand -- encouraging Adrian to force the woman to do his will. It doesn't take Adrian long to realize that Villa's macho approach no longer works.
While the subtleties of Berman's play might be missed by those who know little about Mexican history -- including Villa's role in the peasant revolution against landowner control that began 100 years ago this year -- "Entre Villa" is delightful as nothing more than a humorous battle of the sexes.
Mexico City director Juan Carlos Vives uses exaggerated physicality to milk the humor from the script's more melodramatic elements without ever losing control of the overall story. He draws sharp, energetic performances from his main actors: Enrique E. Andrade (Adrian), Nurys Herrera (Gina), Nelda Reyes (Gina's privileged friend Andreas) and Vicente Guzman-Orozco, who embodies the Pancho Villa of legend in every way.
In one pivotal and hilarious scene, while Adrian tries everything he can think of to win Gina back -- flattery, cajoling, concessions and threats -- Villa takes a gut-shot each time his protégé betrays his macho tradition.
At the end, underneath the humor, we're left with the question of who, if anyone, has the upper hand in a land where conflict and turmoil seem, too often, to rule.
"Entre Villa y Una Mujer Desnuda," which won seven awards, including Best New Play, from the Mexican Critics Association when it debuted in 1994, is being presented in Spanish with easy-to-follow English super-titles. The production is sponsored in part by the Consulate of Mexico in Portland to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution and the 200th anniversary of Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain.
February 12-March 6, 2010
Nurys Herrera … Gina
Enrique E. Andrade … Adrián
Nelda Reyes … Andrea
Alberto Romero … Ismael
Vicente Guzmán-Orozco … Pancho Villa
Yolanda Porter … Mama de Villa
Juan Carlos Vives … Guest Director
Mina Kinukawa … Scenic Designer
Jeff Woods … Lighting Designer
Gerardo Calderón … Sound Designer
Marychris Mass … Costume Designer
John Armour … Prop Master
Rebecca Lewis … Master Carpenter
Alyssa Essman … Stage Manager
Nana Nash … Project Assistant
Christina Lydy Mills … Literary Intern
Sam Zackheim … Projectionist
Ann Singer … Sound Technician
Sylvia Malán and Sarah Hinds … House Managers
Alejandro Ceballos … Artcard Artist
Miracle MainStage presents both adult
and family oriented artistic productions in
English, commissioned from the ranks of the company's
resident playwrights, as well as plays by accomplished and emerging Hispanic writers from the
abroad. The productions are performed in the El
Centro Milagro's intimate theatre in inner southeast
. Performances have
ranged most recently from
the critically acclaimed 2004 production
of Lorca in a Green
Dress - a play that explores the power of poetry to challenge
oppression by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz -to Guillermo Reyes' outrageous comedy Deporting
the Divas, winner of three 1999 Drammy Critic's Awards.