Monday, April 20, 2009

A Search for Reality

Last night I went to see Octavio Solis' unsettling new play "Lydia" at the Mark Taper Forum.

Previously performed at the Denver Center Theater and the Yale Repertory Theater, this is a show I don't think I'll forget for a long time.

Set in El Paso in the 1970s, it's about a dysfunctional family of first and second generation Mexican immigrants completely thrown off-balance when their their teenage daughter is seriously injured in a car accident. With a daughter left in a near-vegetable state, they hire a young illegal immigrant (Lydia) to provide household help. And then the secrets start to come out....

Beautifully written, the play, at times, is almost dream-like as the daughter, Ceci, reverts from her condition to narrating the story.

Many of the performers are new to Los Angeles, having originated their roles in the show in Denver.

The ending is so startling the audience just sat in the dark for a few seconds before beginning to applaud. The young woman sitting in front of me was so affected by the play she sat with her head in her lap crying as the audience left the auditorium, comforted by her mother.

Good live theater has the power to touch the soul unlike any other medium.
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