‘Esperanza’ Rises

 

 

Esperanza, played by Myra Zamora, cuts the first grapes for the fall harvest, during the dress rehearsal of Esperanza Rising Thursday April 24, 2014 in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

Esperanza, played by Myra Zamora, cuts the first grapes for the fall harvest, during the dress rehearsal of Esperanza Rising Thursday April 24, 2014 in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

 

Ramona, played by Camilla Aguilar, awaits her husbands return from a stand-oof with the Bandito's encroaching their land. Dress rehearsal of th Esperanza Rising in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College Thursday April 24, 2014. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

Ramona, played by Camilla Aguilar, awaits her husbands return from a stand-oof with the Bandito’s encroaching their land. Dress rehearsal of th Esperanza Rising in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College Thursday April 24, 2014. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

For the final production of the first season of performances at the renovated Howard Brubeck Theatre, Director Michael Mufson marked Palomar Performing Art as a center for cultural exchange in North County.

A scarcely known play titled “Esperanza Rising,” Lynne Alvarez’s adaptation of Pam Munoz Ryan’s young adult novel of the same name, serves as Mufson’s catalyst.

It is a coming of age story, among other things, of young Esperanza Ortega (Myra Zamora) as she tries to find herself after tragedy turns her world upside down.

The play opens with Esperanza lying down with her ear to the ground, listening for the earth’s heartbeat as the ensemble thumps rhythmically on their chests. A powerful image, but the musical number that follows is awkward.

The traditional Mexican music is not fashionable for the stage, and the ensemble was a hit and miss when it came to dramatic appropriateness.

Barbour’s acting was superb but she lost steam as the play progresses.

Ramona’s distress and suffering was very believable, thanks to Aguilar’s resilient disposition and moving vocals.

Decastro Jr. stumbled over his lines more than once, muddying an otherwise clean performance.

Ramona, played by Camilla Aguilar (left), and Sixto, played by Morgan Phillips (right), sing a song at the thirteenth birthday party of their daughter Esperanza; during the dress rehearsal of Esperanza Rising in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College Thursday April 24, 2014. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

Ramona, played by Camilla Aguilar (left), and Sixto, played by Morgan Phillips (right), sing a song at the thirteenth birthday party of their daughter Esperanza; during the dress rehearsal of Esperanza Rising in the Studio Theatre at Palomar College Thursday April 24, 2014. Lucas Spenser/Telescope.

It was not until act two that we met Kayla Adorno, playing the quirky and effervescent Isabel. Adorno stole the show from the talented Zamora with her affirmative energy and compassion.

Zamora used her charisma to carry us through some of the rough patches in act one (and there most definitely were rough patches), but Adorno pulled us in with her Dee Dee-like idiosyncrasies.

Zamora and Adorno perform beautifully, but Mufson was more concerned with creating awareness for the Chicano condition than he was with theatrical development and quality.

Author: Jason Klingerman

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2 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for your review.

    Now it’s your turn….

    WHY WOULD YOU REVIEW ANYTHING BEFORE OPENING NIGHT? and why would you even attempt to review a dress rehearsal? It’s called rehearsal for a reason, costume changes are figured out, etc.

    I saw the play this past Saturday and it was so much more than your review. My friend was part of the awkward ensemble, and yes i went to support her BUT I was pulled into the story completely. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming. It made me mad, made me cry, made me laugh and made me smile. AND it made me think!!

    I didn’t appreciate your little “among other things” remark regarding what the play is about. The “among other things” was the small subject of immigration, racism and class issues. No small subject!! that was an important part of the play and is something i think all should be aware of.

    If this is your normal practice, then you need to change it. How in the world is this an award winning newspaper??

    Great job to all involved with Esperanza Rising! I loved it. Everyone around me loved it….this is just more proof that critical reviews should never be listened too!

    JENNIFER!!

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  2. It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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