“José, what a wonderful production. You did a tremendous job, especially with young Bella [Villarreal, who took over the young Esperanza role eight days before opening night on September 2]. I’ve never seen a child do this role. Pretty amazing … How did you get Bella to project? She worked hard, you could tell, and managed to learn all those lines in such a short time. What a young pro … And all the characters! [Fifty-four] you said? I couldn’t keep up with how many voices and changes of personalities.
Pacing was good. Play did not drag for this viewer.
I think Gypsy [Pantoja, in the role of older Esperanza as the play’s narrator] was the most professional, but everyone, even the smallest characters, had a glorious moment.
Thank you for working so hard to make this production respectful and loving. It came out bonito bonito. Filled with grace and made me proud to call this performance something connected to me.
My favorite moments — the photo factory, [especially] the actor who played the Asian man [Gabriel Sánchez].”
“Tell the actors I know the text so well I knew when they changed a word or forgot and replaced a word, even though I don’t know the book by heart … but I do know the rhythms of the book, which are singsongy because even though the text is in English, the rhythms are in Spanish, and that’s why the sentences sound like music … Speaking Spanish sounds like birds singing. Syntax and [the] way of looking at the world is very indigenous-based.
I loved [María Ibarra’s] portrayals. She was always interesting to watch, most especially when she played the three comadres.”
“And the guys, each one of them unique, each impressed me with what they did as minor characters who they fleshed out fully. Salvador’s father and Mother Superior [played by Salvador Valadez] — he can do both drama and comedy. And [Joshua Segovia], the young man who did such a great job with Geraldo and with Darius and [Gabriel Sánchez] as the Asian man who stole the kiss at the photo factory. Louie’s cousin was a favorite. Everyone was terrific in that one, [especially] Louie [played by Sánchez].
I loved the bicycle scene. So fun.
And the tension in the Monkey Garden.
Lots and lots of good moments. Please relay my thanks. I could go on and on. But I am very proud of everyone’s work. They worked so hard. Again, mil gracias for all your love and labor. I wish Amy [Ludwig, who wrote the adaptation] could see this production.
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