el Huracan – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Hurricanes can wreck havoc and create destruction. People and property are at the mercy of Mother Nature as storm surge and flood waters rise.

Multiple mountains of rain and violent winds leave ruins in their path. In Charise Castro Smith’s world premiere drama “El Huracan,” currently lashing the foundation of the Yale Repertory’s University Theatre until Saturday,October 20, the toll is obvious.

“El Huracan” deals with not one but two hurricanes, attacking Miami, Florida twenty seven years apart, one a real one, Andrew, and the second a fictional one, Penelope. The effects of these disasters are felt by one family in how they prepare and how they cope and the profound consequences they experience. Valeria, a charming and enchanting Irene Sofia Lucio, is a magician’s dream, performing tricks and sleights of hand with her assistant and love interest Alonzo, an affectionate Arturo Soria.

The young couiple quickly morph into their older counterparts, the confused grandmother Adriana Sevahn Nichols and the older Alonzo, an accomodating Jonathan Nichols (married in real life). A hurricane is brewing and grandma is clearly living in limbo between past and present, her former days in the spotlight and her current bewildering state living with her daughter, Maria- Christina Oliveras, and her granddaughter, Irene Sofia Lucio. An image of her former self, Jennifer Paredes, flits and floats in her mind. A neighbor boy, Arturo Soria, tries to help them survive the brunt of the storm.

This Cuban-American family endures an unforgivable act in the storm’s aftermath, one that plagues them for decades. While grandma remembers her successes on the stage of the Tropicana in Cuba, her mind wanders as reality slips in and out. The trauma affects her mind and causes her to act precipitously, resulting in irrevocable consequences, How can you get forgiveness from another if you can’t forgive yourself? Laurie Woolery directs this timely drama that stirs up personal emotional upheaval.

For tickets ($12-99), call the Yale Rep at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. The play will be at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven and is part of The Sol Project to promote new voices in Latinx theater. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m.. Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m and 8 p.m.

Become swept up in the lives of these immigrants who are not only trying to survive the trauma of nature but also deal with their inner demons, all to secure a better life.

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