By Melissa Cintron
Ashes of light, written by Marco Antonio Rodriguez and directed by Miranda Gonzalez, is an extremely relatable play (especially if you’re Latino)of a Dominican family in Chicago and their struggle to understand each other through life and death.
As you walk into the Urban Theatre Company, located at 2620 W. Division, you may just have the urge to say “‘cion, mami” and quickly do a double take to make sure that you didn’t just step into your mom’s, tia’s or abuela’s house.Through music, memories and cigarette ash the families’ secrets begin to unfold and we delve into why there is such tension between a loving but overbearing mother and her distanced and dramatic son.
The family is brought together by the death of one of the main characters, Julio Cesar’s father. He comes to stay with his mom (wonderfully played by Nydia Castillo) while he’s in town from Texas. Julio (played Sipriano Cahue) is less than excited to be there and had purposefully stayed away because of the suffocating environment that is “home”. Sipriano brings the character’s angst and annoyance to life while struggling to understand his mother’s closed-minded ways and heal from the past hurt that his father left behind. Julio Cesar must also uncomfortably confront his mother’s expectations of him as he fights to kill the far-from-reality image that she has of him and shine some light to reveal who he truly is.
Although the play begins on a dark dramatic premise, the light definitely shines through with plenty unexpected moments of comic relief provided by Karla Galvan as the fun-loving beer-guzzling tia Lydia and Maritza Nazario or Anna Maria Alvarez(depends on which show you go to) as the nosey tamale-making neighbor Divina. This play is just as hilarious as it is achingly emotional. It will tickle your funny bone and pull your heart strings! They play runs from April 10-May 13. To support accessible latino theater in Humboldt Park and reserve your tickets, please go to :Urbantheater.org or bit.ly/ashesoflight