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Bilingual drama Clean/Espejos makes world premiere at South Coast Repertory

Worlds and secrets get revealed, lives change and two women from diverse backgrounds confront their pasts in the engaging drama Clean/Espejos by Christine Quintana, with Spanish translation and adaptation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes. The South Coast Repertory (David Ivers, Artistic Director and Paula Tomei, Managing Director) production is performed in English and Spanish with subtitles in both languages throughout.

Clean/Espejos runs March 20-April 10 on the Julianne Argyros Stage and is the featured production in the 2022 Pacific Playwrights Festival.

Clean/Espejos takes you to a luxury resort in Cancún, where a storm is brewing—bringing together two women from different worlds. Adriana, a Mexican floor manager at the hotel, reels from the news of her father’s death. Sarah, a Canadian guest attending her sister’s destination wedding, is haunted by a long-kept secret. Brought together by torrential rain, they’re forced to examine the past, envision the future and face the present in this bilingual drama of female solidarity and survival.

Directed by award-winning director Lisa Portes, Clean/Espejos makes its world premiere with the same cast who performed at the 2021 digital reading: Nell Geisslinger (Sarah) and Lorena Martinez (Adriana). Before playing Sarah in the PPF reading, Geisslinger played the Delivery Person in SCR’s Theatre for Young Audiences and Families 2021 streaming performance of Red Riding Hood by Allison Gregory. Martinez, who portrays Adriana, returns to SCR after playing Nina in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spikeand Romola in Yoga Play.

“Christine Quintana is a playwright destined to make an impact in theatre and it is thrilling for us to showcase this bold work that pushes the boundaries of theatre,” Ivers said. “This play resonated with me the moment I read it.

“I’m thrilled Lisa Portes will be joining us to direct the world premiere. I’ve long admired Lisa’s work and her genuine depth of character, keen sense of humor and deep passion for our work. She is a national figure of the American theatre, uncompromising as a devoted parent, theatre arts professor, and prolific director of new work, classics and contemporary masterpieces.”

Quintana, Portes and their creative team come together to tell a gripping story in an innovative way. Geisslinger’s Sarah performs her lines in English, with Spanish subtitles shown on a screen. Martinez’s Adriana performs her lines in Spanish, with English subtitles appearing on the screen.

“This is a wonderfully told story that speaks to our community in so many ways, one being the new, exciting territory we’re entering by producing a bilingual play,” Tomei said.

Born in Los Angeles to a Mexican American father and Dutch-British-Canadian mother, Quintana brought that multicultural perspective—along with her own revealing visit to Cancun—to this work.

“The play came out of a visit to a Cancún resort, where my father and aunt worked in sales,” Quintana said before the play’s 2021 reading. “I was so struck by the uncomfortable contradictions of the resort. I’m L.A.-born, Mexican American on my dad’s side, but since I grew up in East Vancouver, my views and experiences of Mexico will always be through the eyes of an outsider. The translation and adaptation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes, who lives and works in Mexico City, has offered a different lens on the piece.”

Clean/Espejos was a 2021 Pacific Playwrights Festival streaming selection. SCR Literary Manager Andy Knight said the moment he read it, “it quickly rose to the top of the plays we were reading.”

The creative team includes Brian Sidney Bembridge, set designer; Danielle Nieves, costume design; Karyn Lawrence, lighting design; Vincent Olivieri, sound design; Yee Eun Nam, projection designer; Lydia Garcia, dramaturg; Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting; and Deena Tovar, production stage manager.

Clean/Espejos received generous support from Lead Honorary Producers Socorro and Ernesto Vasquez and The Playwrights Circle, which includes Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, David Emmes and Paula Tomei, Laurie Smits Staude, Julie and Robert Davey and Mickey and Nickie Williams. KPCC-89.3 FM is the media partner.

Tickets are now on sale and range in price from $26-$93, with additional discounts available for educators, seniors and theatregoers ages 25 and under. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (714) 708-5555. More information is available at www.scr.org.

This article was released by the South Coast Repertory.