Honoring a woman who modified the world, ‘Separate Is By no means Equal’ returns to GALA

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La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal offered by GALita, a program of GALA for all the household, returns to carry out for most of the people Saturdays, October 15 and 22, 2022 at 3 pm. at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th Avenue NW, Washington, DC, in Spanish with English subtitles. Tickets ($12, grownup; $10, little one 2–12) can be found on-line.

Pupil matinees of La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal are on weekdays at 10:30 am, October 11, October 14, and October 17 to October 21, 2022. The period of this present is roughly 55 minutes and is suitable for all the household.

COVID Security: All patrons should put on a masks. Proof of vaccination or current adverse COVID check required for patrons ages 12 and up. For extra particulars, see GALA’S COVID-19 Security Coverage.

(Assessment by Sophia Howes initially printed October 26, 2021)

There are occasions when a younger woman can change the world. Ruby Bridges (1954–) completed a victory for civil rights in America in 1960, when she grew to become the primary Black pupil to combine an elementary college within the South. Her age on the time? Six. Greta Thunberg, 18, as an unknown Swedish 15-year-old, started her local weather change protest with a college strike. She has now achieved international fame. Pakistani activist MalalaYousafzai, now 24, advocated publicly for the schooling of ladies. In 2012, at age 15, she was shot within the head by a member of Pakistan’s Taliban. After many surgical procedures and an extended restoration, she established the Malala Fund, a charity devoted to giving each younger woman the chance to achieve the way forward for her alternative. In December 2014 she grew to become the youngest individual ever to obtain the Nobel Peace Prize.

Edwin Bernal, Melissa Strobva-Valencia, and Delbis Cardona in ‘La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal.’ Photograph by Stan Weinstein.

GALita, a program of GALA Hispanic Theatre for the entire household, is presenting La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal, celebrating one other younger woman whose story we must always all know: Sylvia Méndez. Since 1976, GALita has produced bilingual theater for younger audiences. Its aim: to “encourage a way of pleasure, discovery, delight and identification in our group’s kids.” In a time when the talk over essential race principle is pervading the political airwaves, it’s important to acknowledge how initiatives in opposition to racism can and should succeed.

Melissa Strova-Valencia and Diana González-Ramírez in ‘La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal.’ Photograph by Stan Weinstein.

In California through the mid-Forties, faculties had been segregated. 9-year-old Sylvia, who was Mexican American, was compelled to attend a separate and inferior college, Hoover Elementary. In 1945, the Méndez household, together with 4 different Mexican American households, filed a class-action lawsuit in opposition to 4 Orange County college districts on behalf of roughly 5,000 Hispanic American schoolchildren. The Méndez plaintiffs gained, and the colleges appealed. The case gained help on the appellate stage from Thurgood Marshall, lead legal professional of the NAACP (and later Supreme Courtroom Justice). He filed an amicus transient, which contained arguments he would later use in Brown v. Board of Training (1954) to efficiently assault the “separate however equal” doctrine, successfully ending college segregation in America. In 2011, Sylvia Méndez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Rebecca Medrano, Co-Founder and Government Director of GALA, instructed me on the efficiency of La llamada de Sylvia Méndez that immigrant moms from the native Bancroft Elementary college had been bringing their kids. It was nice to see these under-twelves collaborating and having fun with the expertise; one was even fortunate sufficient to call a doll that was used within the manufacturing!

Expertly directed by Elena Velasco, and assuredly acted, the present is eminently watchable. We first meet Doña Rosa (Diana González-Ramírez), a composite character, who was Sylvia’s childhood pal, now an grownup. She turns into our information. We really feel for Pedro (Natalie Cumming, subbing for Deibis Cordona), who has simply been thrown out of a retailer that serves solely white individuals.

Edwin Bernal, Melissa Strova-Valencia, and Delbis Cardona. (Again) Diana González-Ramírez in ‘La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal.’ Photograph by Stan Weinstein.

We meet Sylvia’s classmates at Hoover Elementary. There may be their trainer Ms. Woodward (Skye Ellis), Rosita (the younger Doña Rosa), Tonio (Edwin Bernal), and Pedro (Natalie Cumming). Cardboard bins and enormous alphabet cubes, with vivid orange balls hanging from the ceiling, recommend a plausible elementary college classroom. (Scenic Design is by Mariana C. Fernández). It’s horrible to see the schooling of Hispanic kids deemed “a waste of taxpayer cash” by bigoted adults, however the songs, dance, and poetry render Sylvia’s story entertaining and enlightening.

Melissa Strova-Valencia pulls at our heartstrings because the younger Sylvia. Diana González-Ramírez excels in a number of roles, from Rosita to Sylvia’s modern aunt, Tía Chole, to legal professional David Marcus.

The actors’ versatility is placing, as virtually all play quite a lot of components. Skye Ellis, whom we first see because the trainer Ms. Woodward, is Sylvia’s mom, Sra. Méndez, California Legal professional-Abogado Joel Ogle, and the Principal-Director of Sylvia’s new college, seventeenth St. Elementary. Edwin Bernal is Tonio, Sr. Sánchez, and Gerónimo. Natalie Cumming is Pedro and Sr. Méndez. All carry out with notable humor and appeal.

Melissa Strova-Valencia, Edwin Bernal, Diana González-Ramírez, and Delbis Cardona in ‘La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal.’ Photograph by Stan Weinstein.

Elena Velasco’s path is particularly ingenious in combining motion, dance, and music. The script has been given a good-looking bodily manufacturing, with lighting design by Alberto Segarra, sound design by Konstantine Lortkipanidze, and costume and properties design by Tessa Grippaudo

I had the chance to speak to the playwright, Cornelia Cody, who wrote Picasso and VolcanO for GALA and who can also be a poet and writer of childrens’ books. She plans to spotlight some themes and add the Presidential Medal of Freedom story to the subsequent presentation, which can be in March.

In the long run, the alphabet blocks spelled out the message of the day: J U S T I C I A.

Melissa Strova-Valencia and Delbis Cardona in ‘La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal.’ Photograph by Stan Weinstein.

There was an after-show dialogue, and the youngsters on the GALA theater had been filled with questions. They had been inspired to jot down to the actual Sylvia.

The subsequent time you see a younger woman, on the road, or at a celebration, or simply at residence with the household, take a re-assessment. She could change the world.

Operating Time: Roughly 50 minutes, with no intermission.

La llamada de Sylvia Méndez: Separate Is By no means Equal offered by GALita was carried out in Spanish with English surtitles October 16 to 23, 2021, at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th Avenue NW, Washington, DC. The family-friendly present can be out there nearly on-demand in mid-November 2021 and can be carried out onstage once more at GALA Hispanic Theatre on March 12, 19, and 26, 2022. Tickets for the spring 2022 run ($12, grownup; $10, little one 2–12) can be found now on-line.

All patrons should put on a masks. Proof of vaccination or current adverse COVID check required for patrons ages 12 and up. For extra particulars, see GALA’S COVID-19 Security Coverage.

SEE ALSO:
GALA’s daring and numerous new season to sort out freedom (season announcement)

CREDITS
Written by Cornelia Cody
Commissioned by Gala Hispanic Theatre
CAST
Sylvia Méndez: Melissa Strova-Valencia
Dona Rosa/Rosita/Tia Chola/David Marcus: Diana GonzálezRamírez
Ms. Woodward/Sra. Méndez /CA Atttorney: Skye Ellis
Abogado Joel Ogle/Principal-Director 17th St. ESPedro/Sr. Méndez: Natalie Cumming
Tonio/Sr. Sánchez /Gerónimo: Edwin Bernal
DIRECTION & DESIGN
Director: Elena Velasco
Scenic Design: Mariana C. Fernández
Lighting Design: Alberto Segarra
Sound Design: Konstantine Lortkipanidze
Costume & Properties Design: Tessa Grippaudo

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