Espejos: Clean – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The Hartford Stage is opening challenging vistas in innovation and cultural diversity with a new play “Espejos: Clean” that speaks in two voices, both English and Spanish. Using pictorial projections and Supertitles, we clearly hear the stories of two women, one from Vancouver, Canada and the other from Chetumal, Mexico. The experience is theatrically dramatic. Until Sunday February 5, playwright Christine Quintana, with Spanish translation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes, will take the audience into the heart and soul of these two different women, with quite different stories, whose lives collide at a Mexican resort and are forever altered. 

Emma Ramos’s Adriana grows up in a household where her father rules. All she wants to do is escape his control and she does so when a male friend Nicholas drives her six hours away to a Mexican resort to start a new life. Adriana never looks back and starts as a maid, working her way after eight years of hard work to become the Head Housekeeper, supervising thirty women. The sudden knowledge that her father has died shakes her world at its foundation.

Kate Abbruzzese’s Sarah is reluctantly the maid of honor at her younger sister’s destination wedding. She uses alcohol as her medication to endure the festivities, slowly acting out of control. Both women are the victims of trauma and need to discover how to heal. As magic and storms and ever present water influence their actions, they meet and their stories merge in their shared secrets. Family tensions erupt and each women must face a past that has shaped their present and future.

An event occurs that forces each to reevaluate their choices, thrusting them together to find solutions, to face the consequences of their actions, to remove the masks they have been hiding behind. Melissa Crespo directs this intriguing play of complicating situations, a co-production with Syracuse Stage, that forces both females to see the world as it actually is.

For tickets ($30 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with Saturday, Sunday and select Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m.

It is not necessary to know a word of Spanish to get completely absorbed in this tale that honors women in its conception and telling.