Syracuse Stage: Espejos: Clean
Through March 5
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY)
Good theater is magic. It engages and illuminates like no other art form.
There is definitely magic happening at Syracuse Stage with their production of “Espejos: Clean” by the very talented playwright, Christine Quintana, Spanish translation and adaptation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes.
Set in a resort in Cancun Mexico, where Adriana who has left her home in Chetumal, Mexico has worked her way up to a management position crosses path with Sarah from Vancouver, who considers herself the family screw-up. She can barely keep it together to participate effectively in her sister’s destination wedding.
These two women, who don’t understand each other’s languages, have nothing in common. Or do they?
The projected translation of each character’s dialogue, Sarah’s English into Spanish, Adriana’s Spanish into English may be a bit challenging at first, but quickly snaps the audience into deeper engagement. “Wait, I have to read? And think?” Yes and thanks to the great, emotionally stirring performances of Emma Ramos as Adriana and Kate Abbruzzese as Sarah you will also have to simultaneously feel. And it’s glorious.
At the heart of “Espejos: Clean” (clean mirrors) is being seen clearly. Being seen is important to all of us, and being seen clearly often depends on how well we know ourselves. Our wounds and past trauma contribute to our self-identification. But they don’t have to define us forever, especially if we are seen by someone else clearly. You might have to use a language app, to be understood, but when you are seen, it is empowerment.
Complex and layered the story stays fluid, thanks to the great direction by the gifted Melissa Crespo who is equally adept with actors as she is with technical elements and collaboration with the impressive artistic team: Amazing set by Mariana Sanchez, fantastic lighting design by Collen Doherty-also loved the sound design and music by Daniela Hart and Uptown Works.
A special shout out to the amazing projection design by Lisa Renkel. It is simply dazzling, both sophisticated and cozy. One of the best I have ever seen.
It all connects thanks to Ramos and Abbruzzese who give stunning performances of emotional integrity. This is especially impressive as they are often alone on stage, playing to no other actor.
Espejos: Clean reminds me what theater is, what theater can be. It isn’t a movie, it isn’t a tv show, it’s not a book; it is theater, and it is great theater.
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