Enfrascada, by Tanya Saracho, is “a jarring comedy of hoodoo proportions.” The play opens with best friends Alicia (Roxanne Tapia), Yesenia (Juliet Salazar) and Carolina (Alix Hudson) watching a concert in summer: Yess is checking out her new man playing in the band, Caro is concerned with buying a house and getting pregnant, and Ali is thrilled about working on a thematic of Grace for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Arts. It’s a typical day for the trio. But when Alicia finds out that her long-term boyfriend, Diego, has left her for another woman, her world is turned upside down. She moves in with her eccentric cousin Lulu (Liza Frolkis), goes to therapy, eats ice cream from the container. When therapy and yoga fall short in providing closure, however, she is persuaded by her two best friends to delve into the occult.
What begins as a self-proclaimed “anthropological experience” with a root doctor (Michelle Artiaga) and her daughter (Leia Villa-Kelly) quickly changes into something much more serious. After her first visit, Alicia becomes increasingly obsessed with getting Diego back. She visits a santera (Danette Sills) next, who counsels a woman (JoJo Sena de Tarnoff) by reading water in a bowl; against the advice of her friends, who are seriously worried about her, Alicia requests more trabajitos (spells). With all of these conjurings already in action, Alicia still visits the ominous Karina (Maria Cristina López and Thelma Argüello). Each Señora warns her about the dangers of what she is about to do; each encounter emboldens and entraps Alicia more fully. The finale of the play explores the limits of friendship and the danger of obsession.
In Enfrascada, Saracho takes a familiar narrative – a spurned woman spiraling into selfishness and desperation – and makes it fresh, compelling and hilarious. This is largely accomplished through her spot-on dialogue and character ensemble. Her protagonist is utterly relatable in ambitious, intelligent, sideswiped Alicia; her best friends, a Tejana and Boricua, manage to be the witty and endlessly loyal friends without feeling like stock characters. Cousin Lulu, as well as providing nerdy comic relief, has a series of interwoven monologues that illuminate Alicia’s dark path. The play is a romp, yes, but one that has a lot to say about fear, friendship, and grace.
Teatro Paraguas is excited to announce that Enfrascada is stage managed by Miquela Villa-Kelly and will be ensemble directed by the cast.
Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México. She is a playwright who writes for Television (HBO's "Looking," "Girls," and "Devious Maids.") and is currently writing for "How To Get Away With Murder" on ABC. Named “Best New Playwright” by Chicago Magazine, Saracho is an ensemble member at the Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater, the founder of the Ñ Project, founder and co-director of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theater Artists) and founder and former Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago’s All-Latina Theater. (Playwright bio from New Play Exchange).