“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles”
Yale Repertory Theatre
Yale Repertory Theatre is currently presenting “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles,” a powerful and disturbing play in a knockout production. As written by Luis Alfaro, this play uses the plot of the Greek tragedy, “Medea,” as the springboard to show an immigrant Latino family and how they struggle to survive in Los Angeles. Director Laurie Woolery has done a great job of staging this play and the production moves quickly to its devastating conclusion. This is not to say that there isn’t humor in “Mojada,” because there are many light and funny moments throughout the show.
But, at the core of this play, “Medea” resonates strongly and the playwright has found ways of shaping that Greek tragedy to his own vision. The cast is faultless, with especially fine work by Camila Moreno, as Medea, and Alma Martinez, as Tita, a friend and housekeeper of the family. Running about an hour and forty-five minutes (with no intermission), “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles,” at Yale Repertory Theatre, is an unforgettable experience, though it must also be stated that it is not for the faint of heart.
In “Mojada,” Camila Moreno is extremely strong as Medea, who is at the very center of the show. A seamstress, who works for very little money, Moreno initially comes across as a wholesome, innocent woman. But appearances are deceiving and there are more than a few skeletons in the closet of the family that is portrayed in this show. Medea’s husband, Hason (the superb Alejandro Hernandez), is much more upwardly mobile than this wife and it is actually this ambition which ultimately leads to trouble. The couple have a young son, Acan, played by the charming Romar Fernandez, who is devoted to both of his parents, though he is also used as a tool between Medea and Hason as the play progresses.
That said, I would hate to give too much more away of the plot of this show, because the play is full of surprises. On Marcelo Martinez Garcia’s fine set of the backyard of a weather beaten house, one sees the family and how they find ways to exist against terrible odds. Also in the show is Medea and Tita’s friend Josefina (the warm and touching Nancy Rodriguez), who sells bread from a food cart on the street, and she provides a lot of levity and balance to this intense production. To round out the cast, there is Armida, portrayed with steely perfection by Monica Sanchez, who is Hason’s boss, though just how close that relationship is remains in question throughout much of the play.
The actors in the show are uniformly excellent, though Alma Martinez, as Tita, stands out just a bit. Martinez provides the bulk of the narration, speaking directly to the audience and revealing a great number of secrets. This actress represents the world that the family has come from and she is the constant reminder of just how much they have all gone through to make their way in the United States. As the plot of “Mojada” unfolds, the more frightening and almost supernatural the play becomes, with Martinez shining brightly as something of the figurehead of the show.
Director Laurie Woolery has done a brilliant job of keeping the audience engaged and on the edge of their seat from beginning to end. She is also blessed with an ideal design team. The costume design by Kitty Cassetti is wonderful and, considering that Medea is a seamstress, the very fabric of the clothes in the show is significant. Lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge has similarly done remarkable work and he also works terrifically with the effective projection designer, Shawn Lovell-Boyle. “Mojada” is quite an emotional evening of theater and the final image (not to be revealed here) is indelible.
“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles” is most definitely not for everyone, especially considering that the play has been modeled on a Greek tragedy. But, for those who are willing to take the ride with this cast and creative team, the results are pretty extraordinary and definitely worthwhile. Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of this play is stellar and unnerving and it reveals the life of the family in the show with amazing and ultimately terrifying precision.
“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles” runs through April 1, 2023, at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT. For tickets and more information, please visit www.yalerep.org.
Photo: Camila Moreno and Alma Martinez
Photo by Joan Marcus
WOW!! This review is fabulous!! ❤️ You captured it completely without giving anthing away!! Love you!! Mom❤️❤️
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