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Costa Rica’s Good Bodies of English-Language Theater

September 23, 2005

WHETHER you’re a local theater lover or a visiting Gringo like me, chances are you’ve had to dig a little deeper to unearth the whereabouts of English-language theater in Costa Rica.After a quick search on the Internet and in The Tico Times, it wasn’t long before I discovered the Readers’ Theater of the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center in Barrio Dent, east of San José, and the Little Theatre Group in the western suburb of Escazú. The groups differ in their activities but are both equally hospitable to newcomers.Tucked away in the tranquil back gardens of a residence in the Escazú neighborhood of Bello Horizonte, the 70-seat Blanche Brown Theater is not immediately on the radar for newcomers or Ticos. But thanks to resident company the Little Theatre Group (LTG), Central America’s longest-running English-language theater company, the theater throws open its doors for four productions each season, with open houses on the first Monday of each month.Under the artistic direction of Lisa de Fuso and a proactive membership of theater lovers from all walks of life, this community theater is full of vibrant, passionate artists and arts lovers sharing their experiences and learning more about the craft, from acting and directing to building sets and helping out with publicity.AFTER the success of LTG’s production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” the company is set to premiere Ensler’s latest attack on the beauty myth: “The Good Body,” opening tonight for a three-weekend run through Oct. 2.The play, based on Ensler’s interviews with women while “The Vagina Monologues” took the world by storm, takes Ensler herself (played by Susan Hall Liang) from fashion-magazine headquarters to gyms, fat camps and botox clinics around the world, all in the endless pursuit of – you guessed it – a good body. Featuring 13 actors and seven directors, this heartfelt and often hilarious series of conversations is a great example of the spirit of collaboration and theatrical nurturing that LTG provides.For tickets and information on LTG’s productions, memberships and October open house, call 355-1623. The company’s Web site at http://intertica.com/ltg.htm also provides information and directions on how to get to the theater.The Readers’ Theater meets two Tuesdays a month in the Mark Twain Library at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center in Barrio Dent to read and workshop prose, poetry and plays. Run by Betty Nichol, this small group is an excellent way to learn more about acting or to share your literary prowess with others. Among its current activities, the group is workshopping an upcoming play commemorating Mark Twain. For more information, contact the cultural center at 207-7500.

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