Cumbia de mi Corazon

A romance with music, set in the netherworld, playwright Tony Campion’s delectable fable depicts a trio of afterlife employees trying to unite a fisherman named Heriberto (Eliezer Ortiz), dead 50 years, with his newly deceased wife, Maruca (Carla Valentine). To win her, he must ply the dazed, then disdainful woman (she doesn’t recognize him at first) with songs from their youth — the spicy, enticing rhythms of cumbia, a popular Colombian dance with roots in slave ritual courtship. For the workers (Joaquin Jassa, Daniel Restropo and Fanny Veliz), his success is crucial, as their supervisor (Angel Sabate), a cantankerous spirit in black hat and cape, is threatening their demotion to the fiery pit if they fail to maneuver the couple to “The Big House.” None of this unwinds with any logic, nor does it matter. Directed by German Jaramillo, the ensemble juggles the whimsy, irony and emotional truth embedded in Campion’s script with pitch-perfect skill. Among the play’s charms is Katherine Castillo as La Angelita, in a beguiling dance-only performance. The music’s beat is contagious, and by play’s end the audience is hotly rooting for the once truculent, now newly energized Heriberto, to regain his life’s love for eternity. One major problem for non–Spanish speakers in an otherwise very enjoyable show: English supertitles translate only a portion of the text, which is all in Spanish. Bilingual Foundation of Arts, 421 N. Avenue 19, L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through May 30. (323) 225-4044.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 30. Continues through May 23, 2010


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