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  • 18 Oct 2018 14°C 7°C
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Jose Sueiro

Jose Sueiro

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The Hidden Mexican Legacy of my Father

            I recently returned from a visit to Mexico City (CDMX) for the first time in over 40 years. I'd lived there for an extended period during my adolescence with my father, Jose 'Pepe' Sueiro. My father emigrated to the United States when he was a young man married, and later divorced, my mother whom he had known since childhood in the town of Pontevedra (Spain) where she was from. Born in the seaside village of Sanxenxo, he was a merchant marine when he arrived in New York City and ended up remaining in the country, based in the United States and Latin America for the rest of his life.

            Many years later 'Pepe' became an interpreter for the State Dept. and through his charm and proclivity for languages translated at the White House under President Kennedy. He was also involved in national labor union politics and became known to the AFL-CIO and the union movement. When the Alliance for Progress was launched in the early 60's he was assigned to Mexico as Country Program Director working on social programs that would highlight U.S. solidarity with that nation.

            Among his many activities by far the most important was an affordable housing component that would build over 3,400 units of affordable housing in a building project ultimately titled, 'Unidad Habitacional Kennedy'. It was located in the Jardines Balbuena neighborhood near the airport - at that time on the outskirts of the Mexican capital and now considered a 'close in' neighborhood to city center.

Como agua para chocolate || Like Water for Chocolate

Washington, D.C. – GALA opens its 43rd season with the U.S. premiere of Como agua para chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate, adapted for the stage by Garbi Losada based on the internationally best-selling novel by Laura Esquivel. Directed by Olga Sánchez, Como agua para chocolate runs September 6 through October 7, 2018 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010. Parking is available at a discounted rate in the Giant garage on Park Road, NW.
Como agua para chocolate is a story of passion and romance set against the backdrop of the Mexican revolution. Tita, a young woman trapped by a tradition that forbids her to marry Pedro, her true love, finds freedom in cooking so magical it inspires people to laugh, cry, and burn with desire when they feast on her culinary delicacies.
Tita’s struggle to rebel against the expectations imposed by her mother mirrors the national struggle for liberation from the oligarchy during the revolution. This adaptation for the stage captures the pain and tumult of challenging authority, the sensual interaction of the two star-crossed lovers, and the delight of preparing and partaking of recipes handed down through generations.
Como agua para chocolate is performed in Spanish with English surtitles, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. The Noche de GALA and Press Night is Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 8 pm, under the gracious patronage of His Excellency Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
A post-performance discussion with Chef Pati Jinich, the James Beard Award-winning host of the PBS Television series Pati’s Mexican Table, will be held on Sunday, September 23. Ms. Jinich is the resident chef at The Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC and author of two cookbooks, Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking and Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen.
This production is made possible in part with generous support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Embassy of Mexico, ARRP, and the Mexican Cultural Institute.

A pinch of Kafka & a Twist of Joe Cuba

Think the energy of West Side Story, the language of the Nuyorican poets with a pinch of Kafka and a twist of Joe Cuba and you get an idea of what the new play at GALA Theatre, "Dancing in my Cockroach Killers", is all about. Six young Puerto Ricans, mostly from the Bronx, dance, sing and recite poetry from the heart of the Boricua repertoire.

Dancing in My Cockroach Killers

            Think the energy of West Side Story, the language of the Nuyorican poets with a pinch of Kafka and a twist of Joe Cuba and you get an idea of what the new play at GALA Theatre, "Dancing in my Cockroach Killers", is all about. Six young Puerto Ricans, mostly from the Bronx, dance, sing and recite poetry from the heart of the Boricua repertoire.

            You will find echoes of West Side Story in the heartbreaking poem about domestic abuse sung by Caridad de la Luz and appropriately titled, 'Maria'. There is the flaming beat of 'Madre de Bomba' performed by master percussionist Nicky Laboy and danced to by Yaremis Felix. In between the 6 member cast cavort around the stage to the sounds of Joe Cuba's 'Bang Bang' and whistle the theme of another great Joe Cuba classic, 'El Pito' (I'll Never go Back to Georgia). It's the mixture of movement, poetry and song that moves the evening along at breakneck pace.

            The blend of old and new, sassiness and sadness brought tears at times and goose bumps throughout. Magdalena Gomez, the poet has captured the essence of the 'Nuyorican hood' with passionate, soaring poetry and dramatic backdrops. She is the poet laureate of Bronx Latin, the sorceress of quixotic Boricua quests. Among the most poignant moments was a plea for the 4,625 islanders dead as a result of Hurricane Maria which became a cry for help and respect for Puerto Rico. The entire night was spent as if in one of those dance halls under the 'Bronx El', where sashay skirts and ultra-high heels abound and salsa erupts from 2nd floor clubs with busy dance floors and plenty of shouting and drama!

            Conceived and directed by Rosalba Rolón in collaboration with Pregones Theatre/PRTT in New York City, GALA concludes its 42nd season with this lively musical that will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm until July 1, 2018. Go see it, you'll have a good time. More information about the show at GALATheatre.org, or by phone at 202-234-7174.

 

            Regular tickets are $45 on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets for students, military, seniors (65+), and 30 and Under are $30. Additional discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call 202-234-7174 or visit www.galatheatre.org.

FOR TICKETS: Call (202) 234-7174, or visit www.galatheatre.org

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