by Erica Skarohlid
Co-Directors Adlyn Carreras and Lelis Brito possess a passion for Real Women Have Curves, the current production from Teatro del Pueblo. Curves, a multi-generational story of five Latina women focused on immigration, body image, and gender expectations, explores the bonds created through survival, friendship, and family that will similarly resonate with any fan of important theater.
Based in the West Side’s Latino community, Teatro promotes Latino culture through performing arts with a focus on developing and supporting Latino artists and promoting cross-cultural dialogue. Carreras has worked with Teatro del Pueblo multiple times over the last 30 years through her work at Pangea World Theater and various other projects and said it was “Nice to come back to work with them again, it’s been a great process with this supportive team.” Teatro has commissioned Lelis Brito for other projects, , “I have enjoyed my first directing project with Teatro and being part of their focus on the overarching issues in the Latin community.” Brito has directed/choreographed/led over 80 projects prior to this production.
DISPATCH chatted about the importance of this piece and the experience so far as they prepare to close the production on Sunday.
Why did you want to be a part of telling THIS story?
Real Women Have Curves by Josefina López was first produced in 1990. In preparation for this piece they started by looking at how current the script and themes were from a feminist perspective. Carreras said, “It is an older story with themes that are still incredibly relevant, some that have actually grown bigger since the show was written”. There have been some edits to the script in the last 10 years but the major themes of immigration, family relationships, and identity still ring true. “The conversation about body image issues used to be primarily focused on women, but now we see it more openly discussed with men as well.”
It is exciting to have a chance to work on a show with all Latina women, it is a rare and absolutely amazing experience. We wanted to take the opportunity of this piece to reinforce Latin culture, to see my own culture reflected on-stage, allow my community to see themselves on stage, and continue to open the conversation about navigating how to not read just to the dominant culture, but celebrate our culture.
In their own words, Real Women Have Curves is a show about five women who work in a factory who are thrivers and survivors of multiple systems. Including immigration and the beauty industry. They are struggling with finding their identity being in a country where their culture is not the root culture. They are figuring out what they want to keep and what they will and leave behind, and more importantly the right time to do this. It’s a true American story, with the United States composed of many different cultures, Real Women Have Curves is a showcase of what Latino culture is about and what we encounter. Over the week of time this play takes place you get see all the societal and personal issues including relationships between mothers and daughters and the deep needs to pass along wisdom to other people, the importance of family continuity, the role the beauty industry and body images issues relate to women and men, and the importance of friendship. Themes that ANYONE can relate to.
With the show almost through its run, how has the audience been?
We have had some fantastic audiences so far, there is an energy that comes from a room that’s primarily Latinos, they get REALLY into it with such genuine reactions to what they are seeing on-stage. A new bit of humor is revealed each time we watch it as new audiences react differently each time. There is a continued development of the performance that comes from this mutual energy between audience and the artists. This helps to create the experience of the show, and it’s very gratifying to see audiences involved and engaged in the story.
Any final thoughts?
“Come for a good time! It’s entertaining and engaging. It has been an honor to create with a wonderful group of women, with a special shout-out to the incredible design team, we are really proud of this entire team.”
WHEN YOU GO:
Real Women Have Curves runs through June 26th at the Conn Theater inside Plymouth Congregational Church at 1900 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. For tickets and more information about Real Women Have Curves and Teatro Del Pueblo visit their website.