Review of ISLEÑA from Margarita Vargas!

25 Jun
Picture by Kyle Berrios

Although death and child molesting are not the central themes of Isleña, once the play ends, the audience is left with those two disheartening realities amidst the joy of childhood memories, live music, and soul-searching songs.

In the one-woman show, performed by Victoria Pérez and directed by her sister María Pérez Gómez, the intent is to portray the experience of Buffalo’s Puerto Rican community, which can be translated to that of immigrants all over the world.

What is specific to Puerto Rico in the play is its title, the food, the music, the multiple references to familiar songs, and to the coqui, which is considered the national symbol. With these elements, Victoria establishes a direct connection with the Puerto Rican audience and celebrates the significance of cultural difference.

One of the first memories the character recalls about her move to Buffalo is related to food, which tasted foreign, fake, and bland. Toward the end of the play, however, she admits to now liking mashed potatoes made out of dried flakes from a box, in other words, to assimilating. She underscores the acculturation process when she refers to the shift she had to make from Spanish to English, to Spanglish and back to Spanish.

Live music, a signature of performances by Raíces, is present in the play from the beginning.  Victoria produces a metatheatrical effect as she names each of the instruments (la clave, las congas, el guiro, and la campana) and we hear their specific sound, as well as when she mentions the coqui and out comes its loud chirp. By calling attention to itself and to experiences common to Puerto Ricans, the play topples the ubiquitous fourth wall and becomes one with the audience.

Sharing the habichuelas, arroz, and pernil she has been cooking with a member of the audience creates a similar effect. It both erases the boundary between actor and audience and forces the audience to think more critically about their own situation vis a vis the play. It becomes clear that food indigenous to the island, but transported to the north, is a reminder of the unstable ground that immigrants occupy. While on the one hand it brings comfort, on the other, it keeps them from severing all ties with the past.

The music is perhaps the most palpable connection between the audience and the play. Victoria not only refers to bombas, plenas, and salsa, but she sings and dances throughout; and you can feel the audience stirring wanting to join her on stage. When she sang, “la vida es salsa y la salsa es vida,” the audience started clapping to the rhythm of the beat. When she mentioned Danny Rivera, Yolandita Monge, Nano Cabrera, and La Tuna de San Juan heads nodded in recognition, and when she crooned “Para decir adios,” “Laberinto de amor,” “Atada a tu volcán,” “Bello amanecer,” and even “Lean on Me” you could see many members of the audience lip singing. This type of participation maintains the connection between actor and audience.

As the character is packing her bag to go to Puerto Rico in celebration of her 40th birthday, she has to deal with painful memories from the past involving a once-trusted priest. Nonetheless, she manages to come to terms with that disturbing experience and appeals to the audience’s patriotism by waving the Puerto Rican flag and reciting the chant “Yo soy Boricua, para que tu lo sepas.” The chant resonated with the audience, and they joined Victoria after she said Boricua.

Finally, in addition to celebrating and questioning Puerto Rican culture, Victoria and María are also interested in featuring the musical talent in Buffalo. Along with the band playing every night, each performance has a guest singer. The night I saw the play (Friday, June 24), Smirna Mercedes sang along with Victoria a touching bolero entitled “Mi pequeño amor” by Ednita Nazario and Laureno Brizuela.

This performance is a summer must!

ISLEÑA (Island Girl), a one-woman play by Victoria Pérez and María Pérez Gómez, featuring Victoria Pérez, directed by María Pérez Gómez, presented by Raíces Theatre runs from June 17 to July 3 at Road Less Traveled (the new home of Raíces) 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202 Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm. Tickets can be reserved by calling 716-381-9333 or visiting ticketstripe.com/islenaonewomanshow

UP NEXT-ISLEÑA!

18 May

An original one-woman show featuring Raíces’ artistic director, Victoria Pérez

Isleña is a one-woman show featuring Victoria Pérez’ journey from her beloved Puerto Rico to Buffalo and the struggle to define one’s identity while living in the diaspora. The title character is turning 40 years old and is forced to use this milestone to reconcile with her inner child and the joyful yet traumatic experiences while living in the island. In packing for the return to her homeland she must unpack memories buried in order to survive. Isleña celebrates family, tradition, culture, music and ultimately the longing to return home. 
Opening Friday, June 17-July 3
Road Less Traveled, 456 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202.
Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm.
Tickets are $25 general admission or $20 for students/seniors and can be reserved by calling
716-381-9333 or visiting https://ticketstripe.com/islenaonewomanshow.

LOS SOLES TRUNCOS-Lectura de la obra clasica del dramaturgo puertorriqueño René Marqués

28 Feb
En su primera entrega de su Serie de Intercambio de Clásicos Culturales, La Irish Classical Theatre Company presentará, en colaboración con la Compañía de Teatro Raíces, Los Soles Truncos de el dramaturgo Puertoriqueño, René Marqués. 
In the first installment of the Cultural Classics Exchange Series, Irish Classical Theatre Company in collaboration with Raíces will present LOS SOLES TRUNCOS by Puertorican Playwright René Marqués. 
 Hortensia, Emilia e Inés son tres hermanas que han sufrido no solo la pérdida de sus familiares más cercanos sino también de su patrimonio familiar. Viven en la pobreza y encerradas en la única casa que les queda, en la Calle del Cristo, y temen perder su hogar. Abundan las tragedias con un rico texto, cuyo héroe y villano es el tiempo. Hortensia, Emilia and Inés are three sisters who have suffered not only the loss of their closest relatives but also their family heritage. They live poorly and locked up in the only house they have left, on Calle del Cristo, and fear losing their home.  Tragedies abound with a rich text, whose hero and villain are time.
La lectura sera realizada completamente en español
The reading will be performed in Spanish
Dirigida/Directed por/by Sheila M. López
Actuación de/Starring:
Victoria Pérez
María Pérez-Gómez
Valentina Marulanda.

La Dra. Margarita Vargas conducirá una discusión después de la presentación. Sinopsis en Ingles estará disponible.
Dr. Margarita Vargas will facilitate a discussion after the reading. Synopsis in english will be available.  
El evento es gratuito y abierto al público.
Para hacer reservaciones en español por favor llame al 716-381-9333.
The event is FREE and open to the public. For reservations please call 716-381-9333 

One-Night Cabaret Poesía, Cuento y Canción/ Poetry, Story and Song

14 Jan

Raíces presents “Poesía, Cuento y Canción/Poetry, Story and Song” featruring Victoria Pérez at Pausa Art House. Conceived and Directed by María Pérez-Gómez. “Poesía, Cuento y Canción” highlights our featured artists’ journey from Puerto Rico to the United States. Victoria will cover music genres such as: bolero, tango, música jíbara, nueva trova and more. Her repertoire also includes original poetry and stories in which she shares her values and experiences relating to family, tradition, culture, her late father, Rafael Pérez and her artistic career. Join Victoria for this wonderful celebration and discover the intricate beauty of her life thus far viewed via her lenses in exquisite artistic form.

For tickets:
https://www.showclix.com/…/poes-a-cuento-y…/pre-sale

Streaming Event:

On Saturday, February 26 at 7pm we will stream a live capture of the performance. One ticket per household and you can watch from the comfort of your home!

Buy streaming tickets here!

Rafael Pérez, Guitar
Nelson Rivera, Saxophone
Pedro Rodríguez, PercussionDOORS @ 6PM / SHOW @ 7PM
MUSIC ROOM: $20 per person reserved seating
BAR ROOM: $15 per person general admission
Minimum purchase of 2 drinks or food items per person required on site

📷 Photo by Rafael C. Mencía

UP NEXT! EL CLOSET MÁGICO-A VIRTUAL STAGED READING

7 Sep

EL CLOSET MÁGICO is a children’s musical about a little girl, Rosalia, experiencing sadness when her Mami has to leave for work. In seeking to comfort her she introduces Rosalia to the magical world of EL CLOSET. In EL CLOSET they travel to her Mami’s homeland, Puerto Rico, where they meet some colorful friends and travel to majestic landmarks of the beautiful island. Along the way they sing, they dance and find their way using courage as their guide.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Starring:
Amara Gómez
Victoria Pérez
Alejandro Gómez
Lissette DeJesus
Rolando E. Gómez
Maria Pérez-Gómez
Rolando M. Gómez
Alexia Guzmán

Musicians:
Kevin Doyle
Sara Rodríguez
Rafael J. Pérez

Broadcast on October 3rd at 4pm via Youtube.$10.00 per household
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

BE SURE TO ENTER A VALID EMAIL. THIS IS HOW WE’LL SEND YOU THE LINK TO OUR PERFORMANCE 1 HOUR BEFORE SHOWTIME!

Raíces Theatre Company Makes its New Home on the Road Less Traveled

17 Aug

BUFFALO, NY – Monday August 17, 2020 – Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP) is excited to welcome Raíces Theatre Company as company in residence at the Road Less Traveled Theater.  Beginning in 2021, Raíces will start to operate its season of plays and readings from its new home at 456 Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

The partnership between the two companies began in 2013, when Raíces made its debut at the original Road Less Traveled Theater at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center.  Raíces remained company in residence until 2015 when RLTP was forced to relocate to a temporary home at 500 Pearl.  Now, in its new and permanent home at 456 Main Street, RLTP is thrilled to welcome back Raíces and provide the company with a long-term facility and partnership.

“We are so excited to welcome Raíces Theatre Company back to the Road Less Traveled Theater! I’m really looking forward to working with Raíces Artistic Director Victoria Pérez and the Raíces Ensemble of artists as we begin a new chapter at the “new” Road Less Traveled Theater.” said RLTP Artistic Director Scott Behrend. 

“We are living in a time of so much uncertainty, but it brings us great joy to know that we have a HOME where we will continue to tell our stories. Road Less Traveled has always been a source of inspiration and support. We couldn’t be happier about this next stage of our journey.” said Raíces Artistic Director Victoria Pérez.

Meet the Cast of El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom

27 Nov

Opening December 6-22

El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom

By Matt Barbot
Directed by Victoria Pérez

Lissete

Lissette DeJesús-YESICA

Alejandro

Alejandro Gabriel Gómez-Joe

Bebo

Rolando E. Gómez-EL CHUPACABRA/JUNIOR

Mini

Smirna Mercedes-PATRICIA

Dan Torres

Dan Torres-ALEX/EL COQUÍ

Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson-COOL NEW COQUÍ

Get your tickets here!

El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom opening December 6th!

6 Nov

Coqui Poster Offricial.png

Alex, a comic book artist whose ideas might be “too Puerto Rican,” has begun secretly dressing up as his creation: El Coquí Espectacular, defender of Nuyoricans in all five boroughs! When his brother Joe is fired from a project for not being Puerto Rican enough, the two, with the help of a young photographer named Yesica, hatch a plan: to debut El Coquí at the Puerto Rican Day Parade and prove themselves to the world. El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom examines the ways in which we define our heritage and ourselves.

Written by Matt Barbot
Directed by Victoria Pérez

Starring
Dan Torres
Alejandro Gabriel Gómez
Rolando E. Gómez
Lissette DeJesus
Smirna Mercedes

West Side Story at Musicalfare in association with Raíces Theatre Company

4 Sep

SEPTEMBER 4 – OCTOBER 6

The music, the story…all of the classic elements that make up one of the most beloved musicals of all-time: WEST SIDE STORY. MusicalFare’s production will be re-imagined for its intimate space, enabling audiences to experience the show as if seeing it for the very first time. This WEST SIDE STORY will return it to its core as a young, desperate love story with its heart based in the streets.

See the trailer here!

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Wanna see some more photos and meet the cast?

tickets here!

Reviews are in for DESDE EL PUENTE: MUSICAL EDITION!

21 Apr

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The reviews are in! You don’t want to miss DESDE EL PUENTE: MUSICAL EDITION. Read some quotes from the reviews below and get your tickets here

 

“The Raices Theatre ensemble knows it has something special for its audience.”

“The energy is contagious”

“The music – whether salsa, merengue, rap or a wedding tango – ties the nine one-acts into a fluid production. Each new scene arrives as smoothly as the turning of a page, our characters taking us from childhood fears to adult anxiety, embracing traditions and defying social expectations.”

“The eight-member cast performs together like they have lived in the same room for a month, switching roles with the slightest change of accessory and daring us to keep up.”

“Rolando E. Gomez adds something special to every scene he is in.”

“Maria Perez-Gomez… gets stage time as a grounding force in several of the pieces.”

“a remarkable example of how much actors can convey by their performances even if you don’t understand anything they are saying – we are looking at you, Smirna Mercedes.”

READ THE FULL BUFFALO NEWS REVIEW HERE

“the singing, acting, and overall energy will leave you either feeling proud that you are Latin or wishing you were.”

“there’s a special quality of “la familia” that this particularly tight ensemble exudes.”

“this musical edition reminded me again of how “romance” (whether translated as romantic love or high adventure) is so much more compelling in a romance language (e.g. French, Italian, or Spanish).”

THE THE FULL BUFFALO RISING REVIEW HERE