Live Review: LA Real

The Plaza De La Raza  Los Angeles, CA.

Web: aboutpd.org/la-real-2023

Contact: [email protected]

Players: Marlene Beltran, Marco Rodriguez, Theresa Chavez

Material: This one-woman play is about a woman, Mestiza Narrator, coming to terms with her race and nationality while living in a foreign country (ironically, that being the United States). Her people have endured tragedies and have overcome struggles over the years and she contemplates her existence from a personal, political and cultural viewpoint. It seems she’s the only one who is struggling with it, but probably because she’s the only one on the stage. The performance takes you back over a thousand years, back to 1872, where Mestiza’s grandmother once lived and she traces her ancestor’s journey through the years; through the wars and finally through the government redistributing their land to “strangers”, if you will.

Musicianship: The pieces that were written for this play were very simple. They fit the production ever so perfectly, though, and the music fit in nicely. It created an ambiance that was needed for such a performance; Simple, yet to the point; Sad, but direct. 

Performance: The performance was very good. The video screen in the backdrop was perfect for Rodolfo Serling (a retrospective view on The Twilight Zone series) as he talks to the audience in a video, taking them back in time; A simpler time…a time where the people were happy…That time was…The Twi…well, we all know how that turns out. The video was also used as part of a dialog between Mestiza and Rodolfo that needed to be timed just right; and it was; Genius. 

Summary: The sleepy hit of the Summer, The Real LA is an informative play unveiling the Chicano/Hispanic, Mexican American past from a subtle, yet direct viewpoint. Tales of struggle and barbaric treatment of the Mexican people are brought to light in this mild-mannered, serious, yet genuine, one-woman show. A path from 1872 to the present day is traveled as the words ring out and stay true: “Sir, I know that land. The land under the concrete, I know that land.” – Pierce Brochett