Monday, July 20, 2015

Little Red – Book by Anthony Aguilar & Oscar T. Basulto – Music by Quetzal Flores – Lyrics by Anthony Aguilar & Quetzal Flores

Valeria Maldonado as "Rosa", Mia Xitlali as "Little Red"

 By Joe Straw

Dear Diary,

Once upon a time, in a land, not very far from here, actually south of Boyle Heights, lived a little girl (me) that wasn’t so little, but still they called me “Little Red”. 

Medium Red is more like it. I can hold my own, I got muscles—squeeze and see—and I can use them if I want to, too? Tu?

What I really like is getting away from my mother Rosa and watchin’ my slam in the mirror.  

My Ama—her nomenclature, not mine—is always busy in the kitchen.   And those traditional Mexican songs, she sings are driving me up the pared!!!!!  When she sings these songs, there is a hint that she wants me to do something; it’s a ritual that drives me B na, nas.

Ama individually wraps food in a picnic basket for her mother, my abuela, Magenta.  They call her Magenta now ‘cause I guess she is some kind of withered out “Red”. Ugh. 

I blame it on the prescription drugs that turn her almost white.

I’m Latina, and can you believe it, the retched smell of frijoles or tortillas make me want to barf.

I’m a brat.

Scarlett, my big sister, is not here anymore.  She deserted us. So, that means I’m delivering the basket.  I know, I know, I know it’s something I got to do. Tradition. Isn’t this a happy fairy tale?  

Jack B Nimble is? are? playing in the Holly Woods.  It’s on my way.  Yes, I’ve got tickets.  No, I really don’t have tickets but a few dollars saved up from God-knows-what.  So maybe I’ll get the ticket when I go by, watch a little bit of the show, and then run over and deliver the goodies to abuelita, before she keels over and croaks.   

Look at me, little me slammin’ to the punk rock band, Jack B Nimble.

I don’t like taking the bus, or the metro, and I don’t like walking alone. The gothic look was ages ago, just like the red cape.  But, the red cape is tradition. I’ll think about tradition, tomorrow.

Until my next Red post. 


Casa 0101 presents Little Red, Book by Anthony Aguilar & Oscar T. Basulto, Music by Quetzal Flores, Lyrics by Anthony Aguilar & Quetzal Flores, Produced and Directed by Edward Padilla through August 2, 2015.

First things first, one can’t help but enjoy this delightful show, a Latino version of Little Red Riding Hood, entitled “Little Red”.  This one is filled with the characters you’ve have come to love over the years. The realities are that everyone has put their two cents into this fairly tale so why not Casa 0101.

If you love punk rock, or a mild version of punk rock, you will definitely love the show. 

My preferences are rock n roll, hip-hop, and Broadway show tunes and not so much punk rock.  And while the tunes do not stay long after the performances, the songs inside the performance work well and are done with fascinating precision.   

Edward Padilla has done a wonderful job directing and producing the show.  The show moves along quite nicely and the dances by Choreographer Blanca Soto give the show a very nice feel.  If only I could remember the tunes after the show.

Someone said that remembering the tunes was the hallmark of a great show.

“Red in Me” was the only one that stuck with me and I guess I understood what it meant as Little Red (Mia Xitlali) was bouncing all over the place.   

Rosa (Valeria Maldona), Little Red’s mother, was going to send her on the way to give a basket filled with food and medicine for a vibrant abuelita, Magenta (Blanca Soto). But first she has to convince Little Red to go.

Little Red puts up a fuss but eventually storm out the door basket and all. Little Red stomps over the Holly Woods, hither and yon, to grandmothers house, but, her way, in her own boots.

Xolo Mariduena as "Corky", Ray James Steward-De La Fuente as "Don Coyote", Mia Xitlali as "Little Red"

Along the way, Little Red runs into Corky (Xolo Mandueña), a boy scout with a lot of patches, and an owl named Paz (Reggie De Leon), who is metaphorically perched on his shoulder asking all of the questions. Corky is quick with the answers, sometimes too quick, but his solutions pop out like Pez with manifest dexterity.  This is probably why he has all those badges on his uniform. 

(“Who”, “what”, “when” and “where” are all answered by Corky in rapid succession and was sometimes rushed, providing little action for the character. If only Corky could keep Little Red on the straight and narrow path.)

But wouldn’t you know it, Corky and Little Red run into the nasty Don Coyote (Ray Steward-De La Fuenta), a rock guitar tottin' coyote with a charming English accent and enough appeal to capture Little Red’s mixed up heart.  Mother would not approve of his thieving and maniacal hungry ways.

Nobody likes Don Coyote, creeping around the forest, except Little Red, and maybe abuelita.

Edward Padilla does a fine job directing the show and like anything else there’s always room for improvement.  But, that aside, this show features a solid cast with strong voices and funny moments throughout.

I have a few notes. No charge.

Corky’s character, in the writing by Anthony Aguilar and Oscar T. Basulto is slightly confusing, and ambiguous, because he just appears out of nowhere to help Little Red on her trip. Corky is not really a friend to Little Red but may be a friend of the family, Rosa, her mother, but we do not get a hint of his relationship to the mother in the beginning of the play or the end of the play.   Why does he take her, for a scout badge?  The relationship to Corky, Little Red, and Paz must be strengthened.

Mia Xitlali does a fine job as Red. There’s a lot more to explore with the character.  Inquisitive would be a great trait for this character.  One loved the touching relationship with her sister at the end.

Valeria Maldona also does a pleasant job as Rosa.  Rosa relationship with her daughter falls into the mundane and average mother/daughter relationship when there could be more.  Rosa never questions her daughters peculiarities, the punk rock, her manner of dress, sending her daughter out into the dark, alone, a tearful goodbye as part of tradition. There is more to be had here, but, really not a bad outing.

Xolo Maridueña is remarkable as Corky and brings an abundant amount of talent on stage. This is as fine as a performance from someone this young that I have seen in quite a while. Nice job.

Another standout is statuesque Ray Steward-De La Fuenta as Don Coyote with a powerful voice and a very nice way on stage.  The objective is to get the red cape at all costs and after that Don Coyote must used the cape for his evil endeavors.  If there is anything to add to his performance it is that. Also, I loved the blue hair.

Blanca Soto does a funny turn as Magenta.  One would prefer this character to be almost blind which would help with her relationship to Don Coyote coming into her home.

Reggie De Leon played Paz the night I was there. Paz means “peace” in English and I don’t get the significance of the name because the actions on stage don’t move in that direction.  This character needs work in the writing.

Overall, the show puts a smile on your face throughout.  And that is a good thing.

Other members of the cast who did not perform the night I was there was Brenda Perez, Katie Ventura, Ryan Vo, Amir Levi, Oscar T. Basulto, Ramon Rios, and Natasha Sanchez.

Other members of this fantastic crew are as follows:

Mercedes Floreislas – Associate Producer
Felix Hernandez – Associate Producer
Abel Alvarado – Costume Design
Elizabeth Calvillo – Hair & Makeup Design
Willy Donica – Light Design
Richardo Soltero – Set Design
Jerry Blackburn – Production Stage Manager
Miguel Carachure – Assistant Stage Manager
Elizabeth Uribe – Assistant Stage Manager
Nicole Celaya – Supertitles
Jorge Villanueva – Light Board
Sohail E. Najafi – Technical Director
Vaneza Calderon – Musical Director
Liane Schirmer – In Other Words – Translation
Vaneza Calderon (Bass), Angelica Mata (Guitar), Toni Santoyo (Drums) – The Jack B Nimbles – Loved the work and the tunes.

Run!  Run!  And take someone who loves to watch sheep cavorting.  

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