Boyle Heights

This seldom produced work by Josefina Lopez (famous for Real Women Have Curves) is an exploration of the Rosales family through the eyes of 26-year-old Dalia (Nicole Ortega), an artistic soul who writes poetry, talks to the moon and receives grief from her family for not having a “real job.” Set in the family’s Boyle Heights neighborhood in the present and during various times in the past, the play also transports us to Mexico 35 years earlier, as well as to Paris, where Dali and her sister Rosana (Yolie Cortez) go on vacation. The material has potential in terms of exploring the cyclical mistakes of successive generations, as well as the suffocating gossip of Mexican-American enclaves. However, the text suffers from too much obvious exposition, compounded by director Hector Rodriguez’s decision to have the actors “play out” to the audience in a heavy-handed theatrical style at odds the scenes' inherent realism. The amateurish tone this choice creates is occasionally transcended in the acting, namely that of Rosana’s husband, Jaime (Eric Neil Gutierrez), and Dalia’s crush, Chava (Eddie Diaz), but a couple of good performances are unable to save the show. While Lopez has created moving work over the years and Casa 0101 remains an important voice in its community, it has definitely seen better productions.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Aug. 22. Continues through Sept. 14, 2008