|Entre Pancho Villa y Una Mujer Desnuda - Reviewed|
Alex Gomez - PVNN
June 14, 2010
If you know anything about Mexico, then you know that Pancho Villa is an affectionate nickname for one of its most beloved revolutionary figures. He made his name by stealing from Spanish-owned haciendas (large farming estates) and redistributing it among the workers that the owners of the haciendas worked to the bone for their own purposes, thereby liberating them.
|If you know anything about Mexico, then you know that Pancho Villa is an affectionate nickname for one of its most beloved revolutionary figures. (spinout182)|
He was a general bandido, because he hijacked trains, robbed them and commandeered them. Villa also printed his own money, which for a certain time in the southern United States (where people considered him a hero, and made various attempts to portray him, Hollywood style), was traded for gold pesos, to fund his rag-tag army of trained soldiers and mercenaries. He became the governor of Chihuahua for a time and was instrumental in bringing down Mexico's first dictator, President Huerta.
If you want to learn more about this historical figure, be sure to catch Entre Pancho Villa y Una Mujer Desnuda (Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman), a wonderfully entertaining play written by Sabina Berman and directed by Israel Ortiz, at the Cecatur Auditorium in downtown Puerto Vallarta, on June 17, 19, 21, 24 and 26th at 8:30 pm. (You don't need to be fluent in Spanish to understand - and enjoy - this play.)
In the above-mentioned play, Villa (Israel Ortiz) reappears as a romantic advisor to Adrian, (Miguel Angel Fernandez), an idealist, nationalist writer whose project at hand is a book on the revolutionary. As the story the play conveys is a contemporary one, Villa is anachronistic, in his attitudes towards both men and women. He himself, although charming and innocent for the most part, is a domineering macho type (reminiscent of my own and many of my friends' Mexican fathers).
Ortiz handles the role masterfully, portraying Villa as part-illiterate and enormously proud regardless. This combination of traits makes up most of the laughter generated by the play as a whole. Liliana Perez plays Gina, a woman in love with love, whom Adrian consistently beds but leaves as soon and as early in the morning as he is able. She pines for him regardless, and is completely incapable of resisting his advances, even as she's trying to get him to make an emotional connection with him and failing.
In the meantime, a young Ismael (Franco Martinez), a wealthy entrepreneur, wants Gina to become his partner in new maquiladora he is planning to open at the border. His friend Miriam (Ana Karen Munoz, who those of you who saw the group's play last year, may or may not recognize as the woman who played the very young Anne Frank) distrusts Gina, for her infatuation with Adrian, and mocks and disparages her.
Pancho Villa's mother, Dona Mica (Dona Concepcion Palomera) appears in one scene to harangue her son and belittle him about his views on women, beating him over the head with the end of her shawl and putting him in his inferior place.
Throughout the play Villa's exhortations to Adrian are "to fight, shoot, or turn around or flee," continually questioning his manhood by called him a "joto" or faggot. This term was a favourite of the Mexican revolutionaries, which they interchanged in order to egg each other on to greater feats of bravery or danger.
Towards the end of the play we see Gina and Ismael married, until a repentant (and drunk on tequila Tradicional (my personal favourite) Adrian returns to woo Gina with a hand-written dedication in his newly-published book to her. Every time Adrian lowered his macho standards of egotism and aloofness, Villa suffered an invisible pistol shot, which Ortiz conveyed in a slap-stick manner that had the audience laughing hysterically.
In all, I found the play entertaining, sexy and thought-provoking, and while not nearly as feminist as, say, Los Monologos de la Vagina, it made appreciable strides in that direction.
Tickets to Entre Pancho Villa y Una Mujer Desnuda cost just $80 pesos and are on sale now at the SETAC Community Center. 50% of all tickets sold at the GLBT Center will be donated to SETAC, a charitable organization working for the well being and rights of the GLBT community in Vallarta.
The purpose of the SETAC Puerto Vallarta Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Community Center, located at Constitucion #427 on the corner of Manuel Dieguez, is to provide essential services to the GLBT community, including support in recovery from alcoholism and other afflictions, physical and mental health treatment and referrals, education and recreation in an atmosphere of safety, free from discrimination. For more information, contact Paco Arjona at (322) 224-1974 or paco(at)setac.com.mx.
Click HERE to learn more about Centro Comunitario SETAC-GLBT.
Alex Gomez is an award-winning writer. he's written numerous short stories, hundreds of non-fiction articles and two serious novels. Writing makes him happy and nothing can kill him now.
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