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‘Crazy Quilt’ a successful dramatic medley

July 27, 2012

From the print edition

What do quilts, Shakespeare, chickens, lost souls and domineering mothers have in common? To find out, one must watch the production of “My Life as a Crazy Quilt” presented by Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica (LTG). The show consists of five short plays varying in themes from marginalized women in a Costa Rican slum to a coming out story in a law office, and it will be sure to entertain all types of viewers.

In the diminutive Laurence Olivier Theatre located in downtown San José, an audience of about 80 spectators gathered for opening night. The LTG has been staging English-language productions for 63 years now, but on this night, among the usual audience of Gringos, 32 faces stood out in the crowd. Eagerly anticipating the first act, the special guests had come from the impoverished San José barrio of La Carpio. They were there to see their personal stories come to life in “Voices of the Quilt.” 

Their play was added to the script only a week prior, and therefore the execution was a bit rough. But the seven actresses who delivered lines as written by the women of La Carpio did so with heartfelt monologues that found their mark. The stories centered on overcoming hardship, abuse, domestic violence, machismo culture and extreme poverty.

Fátima Gómez, who has lived in La Carpio for 19 years after emigrating from Nicaragua, was one of the women featured in the play. Gómez said the production rang true to her. “I am really impressed with how the actresses took what I experienced and felt and performed it so well,” she said.

The second short play, written by Jean MConnell and titled “Outdoor Pleasures,” transports the audience to an English park where an impatient young woman and her critical aunt are picnicking before an open-air theater production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Director Annette Hallet actually chose this play for one of the oldest members of LTG, Ann Antkiw, and a first-time actress, Penelope Taylor. “The way I approached this was to have people come and audition and then find plays that would suit them,” Hallet said. “For anyone interested in performing in future productions, LTG welcomes both seasoned thespians and enthusiastic newcomers.”

Following an intermission and a chance to grab a drink at the Shakespeare Bar a floor below, the stage relit to a scene in a country home kitchen. Written by Theodore Apstein, “Fortunata Writes a Letter” is an amusing exchange between an older married couple. The wife, Fortunata, worries about paying for her funeral and the fate of starving children, while her husband is more interested in his meal and money. 

“When did your compassion bite the dust?” wonders one of the characters in the following play, “Heart and Soul” by George Bryjak. In this play, the director herself takes the stage as a woman fretting over the loss of her heart and soul, while her apparently conscious-less friend assures her that life is much better that way. The witty dialogue and animated actresses make this performance both engaging and thought-provoking.

The final performance of the night, “The Visit” by Norm Foster, takes place in the office of an entertainment lawyer who receives an unexpected visit from his parents. An audience favorite, this performance involved heavy Italian accents, big personalities and witty one-liners that won laughs and concluded the night with a bang.n

The Little Theatre Group will be performing the play the Laurence Olivier Theatre in San José, at Ave. 2, Ca. 28, next to the Sala Garbo. The suggested donation is {6,000 ($12). This week, showings will take place Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 29 at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 8916-6564 or visit www.littletheatregroup.org.

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