Trinity Rep presents La Broa’, which translates to Broad Street, as in the Broad Street right here in Providence, where RI Latinos have congregated for decades. Pulled from real-life stories of Hispanic immigrants past and present, La Broa’ will have you rolling with laughter, but also a bit angry and sad.
All stories are documented and inspired by executive director of RI Latino Arts Marta V. Martinez in the
oral history entitled “Latino History of Rhode Island: Nuestras Raíces” (Our Roots). Hats off to playwright Orlando Hernández, director Tatyana-Marie Carlo, and assistant director Diego Alejandro González for delivering an enlightening, awe-inspiring production.
Doña Rosa, the beloved matriarch of the neighborhood, reflects on her own immigration, having worked her way up to owning her own store, Doña Rosa’s Market. As she reminisces about her journey alongside her late husband, her daughter is by her side in full support, and even learns a thing or two about her
mother’s history. All characters have a tale to tell, whether hilarious or tragic. Regardless of whichever country the neighbors hail from, they share a bond that connects them at the very core of their being.
“This play is a love letter to La Broa’, the other Latinx neighborhoods of Rhode Island, and the people who
made them what they are today,” says Hernández. “It’s an attempt to understand how history is shaped by the decisions we make every day, and the ways we relate to each other and our
surroundings. It’s a celebration of transformation.”
All the actors in this ensemble deliver perfect comedic timing to keep the laughs constant, but none more so than Alina Alcántara, who portrays Doña Rosa. She is a pleasure to watch, and we want her to adopt and nurture us! Marina Tejada enthralls as Doña Rosa’s sarcastic but loving daughter, also skillfully portraying a few other neighbors. Arturo Puentes, who portrays Don Pacheco and others, not only brings the laughs but is quite skilled at playing Spanish guitar. Rosalyn Tavarez, as Ana from Mexico, tries very hard to open the eyes of her white college roommate, Madeleine Russell as Susan (and others), to
the racism around her, and the struggle her community has endured. Rounding out the cast are the equally talented Jen Anaya, Jeff Ararat, David Bertoldi, Rudy Cabrera, and Alexander Crespo-Rosario II.
Costume designer Amanda Downing Carney has done a great job of dressing the cast in the appropriate
period costumes as the times change. Set Designer Patrick Lynch has given us an impressive stage seamlessly sectioned into Doña Rosa’s Market, Ana’s dorm room, and the courtyard outside Doña Rosa’s apartment. Lighting designer Christine Watanabe carefully uses interesting lighting that changes with the mood, whether ultra bright to illuminate intense moments, or low lighting for the more emotional moments. Kudos also go to music director Matthew Requintina and sound designer Germán Martinez for successfully helping to set the moods.
This world premiere is as uplifting as it is poignant, and is presented in Spanish and English. If you don’t know basic Spanish, you will miss half the dialogue, but it matters not. You will still feel its
essence and enjoy the laughs! The run time is about 2 hours 20 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.
La Broa’ runs through February 18. For more information, visit trinityrep.com.