by Lorie Lewis Ham
Real Women Have Curves opened this past weekend at the Selma Arts Center and the show is as relevant today as it was in 1987 when the play takes place.
Real Women Have Curves is set entirely in a tiny sewing factory in East Los Angeles. The story deals with how women are treated, how they see themselves, and the Latina immigrant experience. The current threats of ICE raids and the #MeToo movement are brought to mind as we watch this story play out.
Ana (Julia Prieto) is a bright young girl who recently graduated from high school and wants to go to college. She wants to be a writer, and narrates parts of the story. Ana works in her sister’s factory to earn money for school, but also because her mother makes her feel obligated to help her sister with her struggling business. Her mother, Carmen (Yvette Montijo), also works in the factory and always speaks her mind even when maybe she shouldn’t–and to her, family is everything. Estela (Dalicia Torrecillas) is the sister who owns the factory. Her mother wants her to succeed so she can provide for herself because she is older and still not married. The other two workers are Rosali (Alina Gonzalez), who is so obsessed with becoming a size two so she can get a man that she makes herself ill. Pancha (played by Ethel Birrell opening weekend and by Ellie West on closing weekend) is the other worker. She has a husband who doesn’t treat her well, and she is tortured by the fact that she can’t have children.
Everyone but Estela is now legal, but they are all afraid when they think ICE may be nearby because it is a hard fear to forget, and because they fear for Estela. They are all working themselves into the ground to try to get an order done of beautiful dresses designed for skinny, rich women, so that Estela can pay off her creditors. Body image, abusive relationships, and the roles of women, all are major pieces of this play, as well as the power of women and of striving for your dreams.
Real Women Have Curves will make you think, make you laugh, and maybe even make you cry. All of the women in this show did an amazing job of bringing this story to life. If you are a woman, expect to leave this show feeling inspired to love yourself for who you are. If you are a man seeing the show, hopefully you will go home and tell the women in your lives how amazing they are. Major kudos to directors Haley White and Juan Guzman.
This show has one more weekend, so don’t miss out. It plays at the Selma Arts Center, 1935 High St, Selma, CA. Tickets can be purchased on their website, or and by calling the box office at 559-891-2238. It is on stage seating so seats are limited. Note that the show is rated PG 13.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. The first 5 episodes are now up! You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean.