If Lucille Ball had graced pop culture with an episode of I Love Lucy where she meets Desi’s mother and extended family for the first time, I am fairly certain it would look a lot like Luis Santeiro’s play Our Lady of the Tortilla, now at El Paso Playhouse. A charming mix of expectations, tradition, generosity and humor,Our Lady of the Tortilla is another can’t miss at El Paso’s longest running theater company.
Despite the spotlight on many aspects of Latin culture, people from almost any background will recognize the dynamics played out on stage in the Cantú/Cruz household, set in New Jersey in the 1980s. Dolores Cantú (LESLIE HORVATH) exudes a game-show contestant level of enthusiasm and joy while her sister Dahlia Cruz (CHRISTINA CASTANOS) maintains a romantic sort of cynicism as sharp as the line of her electric blue eyeshadow. Dahlia’s son Nelson (MOISES AREOLLA), home from college with his new girlfriend in tow, fervently hopes to keep the lies he’s told her to soften his family’s eccentric edges straight and perhaps escape the shadow of his snappy, engaging older brother Eddy (STEPHEN SOLIS). For her part, girlfriend Beverly Barnes (KELLY RODRIGUEZ) imparts the exceedingly polite, slightly desperate face known to all significant others who have ever experienced the “meet the family” weekend.
Under the hand of director EURYDICE SAUCEDO and dedicated in part to her grandmother, Tortilla manages to take the complicated themes of family, faith and the “American Dream,” spice it with some slapstick and perform a comedy with enough conflict to keep it fresh and enough heart to keep it hopeful. The packed house at my Sunday matinée would agree, no matter whose face may appear in your tortilla, the love between family is the real miracle.
OUR LADY OF THE TORTILLA plays FRIDAY October 7, SATURDAY October 8 and closes SUNDAY October 9. Please call 915- 532-1317 or visit www.elpasoplayhouse.com for more information.