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You Don't Know Me

As the title of playwright-poet Patricia Zamorano’s Chicana coming-of-age tale suggests, there is much that her hardscrabble East L.A. characters choose not to reveal to each other — or even to themselves. For 17-year-old Santa (Erika Beas), it is her budding poetry talent and longing for her best friend, Sonia (Alma Deras); for Santa’s mother, Jovita (Jennifer Lora), it is the demons she tries to keep at bay with drugs, booze and sex. Like her play’s denizens, Zamorano’s heartfelt work is rough around the edges, which has its benefits. Director Emmanuel Deleage elicits sturdy performances from most of his cast, though Beas doesn’t display the emotional range needed for Santa’s angst-driven journey. Problematic also are the unlikely contradictions of Zamorano’s characters, such as the alternating disgust at and encouragement of Jovita’s drug use by her dope dealer/lover Joey (Eddie Diaz). What keeps it all appealing, though, is the interspersing of Santa’s fiery and deeply revealing poetry, verses that could well serve as her ticket out of the barrio. Opening the evening is Zamorano’s short play Juvy Sunday, also directed by Deleage, a spoken-word monologue concerning an adolescent juvenile-hall inmate (Maggie Gutierrez) yearning for her mother’s weekly visit. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 11. Continues through May 11, 2008

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