Tamales de Puerco (Pork Tamales)
The rare (or the country's first?) trilingual play -- in English, Spanish and American Sign Language -- draws on playwright Mercedes Floresislas' personal history, which involves another trifecta, this one of woes: As a young woman, Floresislas fought off domestic abuse while scrounging a living as an illegal immigrant and trying to raise a deaf son. Both mother and son are fine now and appear in this surprisingly ebullient production at Casa 0101, Josefina Lopez's (Real Women Have Curves) passion project in the heart of Boyle Heights. Director Edward Padilla recruited a number of deaf actors to sign, with two hearing boys alternating in the role of young Mauricio; English and Spanish supertitles are projected above the stage throughout. Cristal Gonzalez is a gem as the luminous Norma, while Miriam Peniche offers necessary comic relief as her raunchy street-vendor friend peddling roasted elote. The tense ending deliberately spins off into camp (suggesting what might have happened to the Dixie Chicks' Earl if he'd encountered the Demon Barber of Fleet Street), which detracts from the play's valuable themes. But it's a pleasure to watch these characters and the resilient communities they represent quite literally find their voices. Casa 0101, 2102 E. First St., Boyle Heights; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; through April 28. (323) 263-7684, casa0101.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Starts: April 5. Continues through April 28, 2013
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