by Eduardo Arocho
The Urban Theater Company of Chicago has been making high quality and intensely passionate theater in Humboldt Park since they started doing theater 10 years ago. Under the leadership of Executive Director Ivan Vega, this company of hard working actors/ support crew is able to work together so professionally and cohesively that they leave their audiences energized by their performances. They are a company that has been challenging themselves with both producing works by renowned Latino writers and honoring the history and culture of their surrounding community. This is a well-seasoned company that has mastered the art of melodrama and humor to articulate and present political and controversial material. Such is the selection for this season’s run with Adoration of The Old Woman by José Rivera. Rivera, a star playwright whose play, Another Word For Beauty was featured at the Goodman Theater early this year. Directed by Juan Castañeda, this production of Adoration of The Old Woman comes at the most apropos time. With Puerto Rico currently in the mist of a “Fiscal Crisis” of catastrophic proportion, this play addresses one of the root causes of this current conundrum with the extremely important, yet greatly veiled issues of the ambiguous political status of Puerto Rico in relation to the United States. Of course Jose Rivera uses his magical realist crafting to illustrate this issue with another layer of intimate imagery, a haunted bed. The Old Woman (Nydia Castillo) is tormented by a restless ghost named Adoración (Melissa DuPrey), between them a secret which is the source of their conflict, is eventually unraveled with the unwitting help of the Old Woman’s Great Granddaughter Vanessa (Debbie Baños). In the end this play, filled with raunchy humor and compassionate tears, makes room for redemption to prevail. Not only between Adoración and The Old Woman but also with the struggles of the colony of Puerto Rico.
ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN February 12 – March 13, 2016 Box Office: (312) 767-UTC1; (312) 767-8821 or http://urbantheaterchicago.org Performance Venue: UrbanTheater Company at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., on the Paseo Boricua in the heart of Humboldt Park (newly renovated) Performance Times: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays