The Slate Theater Sodo
Thursdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. and Mon., July 24, 8 p.m. Continues through July 30 2017
Recommended by Rich Smith
During the talkback portion of the 30-minute teaser of this production I saw, a woman burst into tears. She said she saw herself in the character of May [one of the three extremely poor main characters, who is trying to learn to read so she can escape the metaphorical and literal mud everyone is clomping around in] because she was also illiterate. She came to the United States six years ago and has been trying to learn, but it's been difficult to begin studies as an adult. Through tears she said her father had told her she didn't need to learn to read because she was a woman. Her job was to pump out babies. Her husband told her the same thing. But now she's got babies—daughters—and she's doing everything she can to make sure they get a good education and learn to read. Maria Irene Fornés's play, and artistic director Rose Cano's treatment of it, is indisputably great, and the theatrical foreman in me felt deep appreciation for the formal elements of the piece. The actors' childlike but strangely flat affect aligned with Fornes's Beckett-like, stripped-down dialogue, and served as a perfect counterpoint to the violence that permeates every scene. Though I was moved by the play's inevitably bleak ending, I didn't break down in tears like the woman in yellow. But creating a show that allows for both my experience and the experience of that woman is the whole reason anybody makes art in the first place.
See the English-language version (July 13-14, 20-21, 24, 27-28, and 30) or the Spanish-language translation by director Rose Cano (July 15-16, 22-23, and 29).