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Milagro The Web

GUAPA
NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK ROLLING WORLD PREMIERE
Written in English by Caridad Svich
MARCH 21 to APRIL 13, 2013


Single-mom Roly lives in a dusty Texas border town that everyone longs to escape. She’s never seen anything like Guapa, a natural-born athlete with a fiery ambition to become an international soccer star. When Guapa joins Roly’s family, everyone’s life is turned upside down. With only one shot to reach the big leagues from the barrio, how can Guapa convince the non-believers to let go of their doubts, spread their wings and fly? This inspiring story will have you cheering in the aisles!


REVIEWS & COMMENTS

Miracle Theatre Group review: 'Guapa' scores with engaging drama about ethnic identity, family bonds and the beautiful game
By Marty Hughley, The Oregonian 
on March 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM, updated March 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM

She believes she can fly: Sofia May-Cuxim (from left), Crystal Ann Muñoz, Michelle Escobar and Pablo Saldaña in Miracle Theatre's production of "Guapa."Russell J. Young 

Despite her name, the girl called Guapa doesn’t feel beautiful. She lives in a dirty Texas border town, bagging groceries, living with distant relatives and absorbing the stings of racial and economic marginalization.

But she loves the beautiful game, and when she dominates yet another local street soccer match, she dreams of soaring above her humble circumstances, envisioning a girl “made of dirt, feathers and futbol.”

A drama by Caridad Svich, “Guapa” -- which opened Friday night in a warm, engaging production by Miracle Theatre Group -- has a narrative premise out of a TV movie of the week: a small-town talent burns to get to the big city for a long-shot competition, in this case, a street football tournament in Dallas.

You’ll hardly notice those tired bones, though, for all the strong, sometimes graceful writing they carry. Blending kitchen-table discussions of history, ethnic identity and underclass economic realities with references to supernatural voices (Guapa dreams of saints partying with soccer stars), Svich has written something like a Latino version of an August Wilson play, in which salvation comes from embracing your origins and being seen as someone of worth.

Along the way to a satisfying conclusion, Svich does make a few things too confusing, such as the constellation of family relationships, and the roots of Guapa’s desperation and anger. But director Olga Sanchez calibrates the mix of tension and humor beautifully, especially in the bright, nuanced performances by Sofia May-Cuxim as long-suffering head of the mixed household, and Crystal Ann Munoz as her studious daughter.

Miracle Theatre Group helps give a 'rolling world premiere' to the Caridad Svich play 'Guapa'
By Marty Hughley, The Oregonian 
on March 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM, updated March 21, 2013 at 6:08 AM

Michelle Escobar takes the title role in the Miracle Theatre Group production of "Guapa," a National New Play Network World Premiere by Caridad Svich.Russell J. Young 
Portland's Miracle Theatre Group will be the third company to give the Caridad Svich play "Guapa" its world premiere.

In theater, a world "premiere" confers a certain cachet on the producing company; but the problem is that once that distinction's been taken, new plays tend to languish. So the National New Play Network created a program that helps fund three or more productions of the same play within a 12-month period, what it calls a "rolling world premiere." The idea is that with the widespread exposure, and the sharpening effect of three distinct creative teams, a play stands a better chance at a continued life.
And "Guapa" sounds like the sort of story that could have legs -- the tale of a gifted athlete longing to leap from a desolate Texas border town to stardom. Olga Sanchez directs a cast featuring Michelle Escobar (pictured) in the title role.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Caridad Svich is a US Latina playwright, translator, lyricist and editor whose works have been presented across the US and abroad at diverse venues, including the Denver Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertorio Espanol, 59East59, McCarren Park Pool, 7 Stages, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Teatro Mori (Santiago, Chile), ARTheater (Cologne), and Edinburgh Fringe Festival/UK. She received the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the novel by Isabel Allende, and has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama three times, including in 2010 for Instructions for Breathing. Her key works include 12 Ophelias, Alchemy of Desire/Dead Man's Blues, Any Place But Here, Iphigenia...A Rave Fable, Fugitive Pieces, In the Time of the Butterflies (based on Julia Alvarez’s novel), Magnificent Waste, and the multimedia collaboration The Booth Variations. An alumna of New Dramatists, she holds an MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from UCSD, and has taught creative writing and playwriting at Bard College, Barnard College, Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Yale School of Drama. She was awarded the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement.

March 21 to April 13, 2012

Sponsored by

CAST
Sofia May-Cuxim … Roly
Michelle Escobar … Guapa
Tristan Nieto … Hakim
Pablo Saldana … Lebón
Crystal Ann Muñoz … Pepi

PRODUCTION TEAM
Olga Sanchez … Director/Artistic Director
José E. González … Scenic Designer/Executive Director
Kristeen Crosser … Lighting Designer
Rory Stitt … Sound Designer
Emily Powell Wright … Costume Designer
Kenichi Hillis … Prop Master
Kristin Mun … Fight Choreographer
Mark Loring … Scenic Painter
Chazaq Pinto … Graffiti Consultant
Sam Trevino … Artcard Artist
Heather Helinsky … Dramaturg
Alyssa Essman … Stage Manager
Julie Rosequist … Sound Board Operator
Lucas Welsh … Video Specialist
Estela Robinson … Production Manager
Collin Lawson … Master Carpenter


SPECIAL EVENTS

Sunday, March 24: Post-play conversation with Jorge Huerta, Professor Emeritus of Theatre & Dance at the University of California, San Diego, the nation’s leading expert in the field of Chicana/o and U.S. Latina/o theatre. He is the author of the landmark books Chicano Theatre: Themes and Forms and Chicano Drama: Performance, Society, and Myth. He has directed in theatres across the country and has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Western Europe. In 2008 Huerta was recognized as a “Distinguished Scholar” by the American Society for Theatre Research.

Saturday, April 6: “Fancy Futbol Footwork” - A free soccer clinic for the whole family featuring players from the Portland Thorns professional women’s soccer team 12 noon-1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 6 at El Centro Milagro (537 SE Stark St., Portland). Advance registration required; call 503-236-7253


ABOUT THE CONTINUED LIFE OF NEW PLAYS FUND
NNPN's flagship program, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund supports three or more theaters which choose to mount the same new play within a twelve-month period. The result is a Rolling World Premiere through which the playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams, for multiple communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality. And with a minimum of three productions in a single year, the play attains the momentum it needs to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works. To date, NNPN has championed the continued life of 29 new plays in nearly 100 productions.

ABOUT NNPN
The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned seventeen playwrights, provided sixteen MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported nearly 100 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates “rolling world premieres” of new plays. Hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts in the 24 regions of the country where NNPN member theaters are located. NNPN receives substantial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Shubert Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Miracle Theatre Group