The Black diaspora on stage at The Drake
A cast of Afro-Latinas perform at the Drake's Proscenium Theatre through this Sunday, March 19.
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Three women, three generations, and a mango tree. Crisscrossed by their memories, their old dreams, their traditions and their mythical ancestor in Venezuela’s Afro culture (Guiomar), All My Mothers Dream in Spanish paves the way for resistance, equality and integration.
AZ Espinoza’s play, produced by Azuka Theatre and Teatro del Sol, introduces a feisty and heroic queen gifted with the power of magic, who was able to pass on that same gift to her descendants: Maria Consuelo/Guiomar (played by Keila Cordova), Maria Soledad/Guiomar (played by Taysha Marie Canales) and Camilla Marie/Guiomar (played by Cianna Castro).
On stage, the bilingual production is directed by José Avilés and highlights the lives of society’s marginalized by amplifying their voices through three female, non-binary and Afro-Latin dramas. All My Mothers Dream in Spanish "centers around diverse, deeply human characters and female leads who grapple with their place in the world," said Reva Stover, co-artistic director of the show with Rebecca May Flowers.
Making "the invisible" visible
Beyond the legacy and historical worldview that surrounds the play, its cast is aware of the heritage they convey: the representation of Black Latinas in American theater, considered "a rarity," even today.
“Our stories do not get told enough,” Taysha Marie Canales told AL DÍA.
She is supported in that same vision by Cordova, who, upon discovering the first pages of the script a couple of years ago, was immediately convinced that the world needed to know about this family.
“I recognized the people in the play, I knew I hadn’t seen these characters, or more significantly, this family represented anywhere before on stage or screen,” she said.
All My Mothers Dream in Spanish also struck a chord with Castro, who felt that someone “finally saw her”: “For me, being Black and being Latina was confusing for my peers and confusing for me as a child. I felt like a glitch in the matrix as a kid and this play removed more of that glitchy feeling.”
For this reason, the three agree that productions like All My Mothers Dream in Spanish are necessary in the United States, a country that is unaware of the Black diaspora not only in the Latino community, but also beyond its borders.
“I think sometimes we acknowledge racism in this country and completely bypass the aspect of colorism. Colorism is a problem that I wish we addressed more as a community. This story addresses that and so much more. Plus, it offers a perspective of the Black experience outside of America. I think we forget that Black people exist and struggle outside of this country too,” said Cordova
On stage through March 19
The poignant narrative will leave no one untouched. In its world premiere, it promises to open minds, hearts and little-explored perspectives on the diaspora, and can be seen at Philadelphia’s Proscenium Theatre at The Drake through Sunday, March 19.
In its 2022/2023 season, the Azuka Theatre maintains its Pay What You Decide model, in which audiences are invited to enjoy the art on stage and pay afterward based on how they value their experience.
“If you think you’ve seen it all...think again,” said one of the actresses, inviting people to the play. For more information and reservations, visit azukatheatre.org.