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Stephanie Walker in San Miguel To Premiere Her New Play

Stephanie Alison Walker

By Fredric Dannen

Stephanie Alison Walker has memories of the precise moment she fell hard for playwriting, but she’s not certain of the year. It was 1999 or 2000. She was a fiction and poetry author, working in Chicago, and found herself passing by the Chicago Dramatists theater each day. On an impulse, Walker signed up for a workshop taught by playwright Lisa Dillman. “That class changed my life,” Walker recalls.

Dillman arranged for actors to read a scene Walker had brought into class. “Hearing my words come to life so brilliantly hooked me immediately,” Walker says. “That was it.”

Nearly two decades later, Walker is enjoying the acclaim for her most recent full-length play, The Madres, which debuted earlier this year in its first full production in Los Angeles, followed by full productions in Chicago and San Diego. Set in Buenos Aires in 1978 during the Argentinean military dictatorship, when political dissidents were disappearing by the thousands, The Madres concerns the devastating effect of one young woman’s abduction on her family.

The Madres won first place at the New Plays Festival in Ashland, Oregon, in 2016, and the reviews for this year’s productions have been laudatory (“Astounding!…Demands to be seen.”— Broadway World; “A powerful night of theatre that will keep you on the edge of your seat.”— Annenberg Media).

Now The Madres is receiving its fourth full production and its first outside the United States at the San Miguel Playhouse, Avenida Independencia 82. It will be here for a two-week run from August 23 through September 2, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Stephanie Walker will attend the opening night on August 23, the second night, and, it is hoped, additional performances the first week.

Tickets are on sale at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Second Floor (Ancha de San Antonio 123) and online from latroupemexico.com and sanmiguelplayhouse.com. La Troupe Mexico, the theatrical company presenting The Madres, was founded in San Miguel last year with the mission of using live theater, the most communal of art forms, to help unite our Mexican and expatriate communities. All of La Troupe’s productions use an advanced supertitling system and are bilingual.

The Madres will be performed for the first time in Spanish, with English supertitles, using a translation supervised by Walker, who spent part of her childhood in Argentina during the junta. Laura Crotte, a Chicago-based actor (Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company), leads a superb cast that includes Antonino del Valle, Pamela Cordero, Julieta Rodríguez Barajas, and Rodrigo Demian. Marcela Brondo directs.

“I am a character-driven storyteller and as such, this play is about the characters more than it is a ‘history play,’” Walker says. “I hope it entertains, horrifies, challenges, and ultimately inspires audiences. Though this play is about a difficult and dark subject, it’s filled with moments of hope and joy and humor. Because that’s what we do, we humans. It’s how we survive.”

 

Theater

The Madres

Stephanie Alison Walker

Aug. 23–Sep. 2

Thu, Fri, and Sat, 7pm

Sun, 3pm

In Spanish, with English supertitles

San Miguel Playhouse

Av Independencia 82

Reserved seat tickets:

300, 200, and 100 pesos

Box Office:

Boleto City, 2nd Floor, Mercado Sano (Ancha de San Antonio 123)

Online: latroupemexico.com/ sanmiguelplayhouse.com/

 

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