“Real Women Have Curves” Review – The Relevance of Latina Immigration Issues

A coming of age comedy, set in a tiny, family run dress factory, in East LA. The owner, Estela, is in debt, and undocumented. She lives in constant fear of discovery by ICE and being deported

 

Estella (Sherry Mandujano), Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), and Carmen (Blanca Araceli) in Real Women Have Curves

Real Women Have Curves, a coming of age comedy, is set in a tiny, family run dress factory, in East LA. The owner, Estela (Sherry Mandujano), is in debt, and undocumented. She lives in constant fear of discovery by ICE and being deported and is constantly looking outside to check whether they are being surveilled. She has secured a contract to produce 100 dresses within the next few days for an exploitative woman, who pays $30 for dresses that will ultimately each sell for $400 in a high end department store

 

Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda) in Real Women Have Curves
Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda) and Estella (Sherry Mandujano) in Real Women Have Curves

Estela’s sister Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), fresh out of high school, dreams of becoming a writer and rebels against the status quo. She seizes every possible moment to sit in the bathroom and make regular entries in a journal, expressing her deepest emotions and frustrations about working for a weekly pittance to save enough money to attend a college in New York.

Pancha (Jackie Garcia), Estella (Sherry Mandujano), Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), and Carmen (Blanca Araceli) in Real Women Have Curves

Estela has to put pressure to finish the garments on her co-workers—her mother, Carmen (Blanca Araceli), sister Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), and Rosali (Claudia Duran)—who are all working under sweatshop conditions. She herself has a sweet nature and finds it difficult at times to deal with a domineering old-school mother who resents receiving orders from her daughter.

Carmen (Blanca Araceli), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), Rosali (Claudia Duran), Estella (Sherry Mandujano) and Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda) in Real Women Have Curves

These strong women gossip about food and sex and love and size, while rewriting America‘s definition of beauty.  Pancha longs to have a baby but seems unable to conceive, and Rosali struggles with dieting and a probable eating disorder. Carmen imagines herself pregnant again, and Estela has an admirer and goes on a date. Carmen brings food and wants to maintain motherly control over her grown daughters. But they all care about each other and share their stories of trials and tribulations. They constantly move around the stage carrying fabrics and props, and doing some dance moves.

Estella (Sherry Mandujano) in Real Women Have Curves

Real Women Have Curves was first written in 1988 and has been updated to reflect the Latina immigrant experience and issues that are still relevant today. In 2002 it was adapted into a hit movie of the same name. It is written, directed, and designed by an all woman team, from the playwright López and director Mary Jo DuPrey, to the production designers and stage manager.

The production runs from Oct. 12 through Nov. 18.

Estella (Sherry Mandujano), Carmen (Blanca Araceli), Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), and Rosali (Claudia Duran) in Real Women Have Curves

Josefina López (Playwright, Screenwriter, Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater, Producer, Author, Restauranteur, and Activist) is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the film Real Women Have Curves. Born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico on March 19, 1969, Josefina López was five-years-old when she and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. López was undocumented for 13 years before she received amnesty in 1987 and became a U.S. Citizen in 1995.

Garry Marshall Theatre is a nonprofit organization providing innovative performances, educational opportunities, and storytelling activities for all ages, year-round. Located in the heart of Burbank and Toluca Lake’s media district, the critically acclaimed and Ovation Award-winning 130-seat theatre was founded in 1997 as the Falcon Theatre by Hollywood legend Garry Marshall and reestablished as the Garry Marshall Theatre in 2017.

Rosali (Claudia Duran), Carmen (Blanca Araceli), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), and Estella (Sherry Mandujano) in Real Women Have Curves

All photos by Chelsea Sutton

WHO: Written by Josefina López. Directed by Mary Jo DuPrey

Starring Blanca Araceli as Carmen, Claudia Duran as Rosali, Jackie Garcia as Pancha, Sherry Mandujano as Estela, and Julianna Stephanie Ojeda as Ana.

Production Team: scenic design by Tanya Orellana, costume design by Jessica Champagne-Hansen, lighting design by Karyn D. Lawrence, sound design by Corinne Carrillo, prop design by Sydney F. Russell, casting by Jami Rudofsky and dramaturgy by Katherine Nigh

WHEN: Opening: October 12, 2018. Runs Through: November 18, 2018. Thursday – Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm Select Performances on: Wednesday October 17 at 8pm, Saturday October 27 at 2pm, Sunday November 4 at 7:30pm, and Wednesday November 7 at 8pm

WHERE: Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505

PRICES: $52-$65

MORE INFORMATION: Box Office: (818) 955-8101.

Website: GarryMarshallTheatre.org. Facebook: facebook.com/GarryMarshallTheatre. Twitter: @GMTheatre.org Instagram: @garrymarshalltheatre

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