Although it’s entirely legal, the corporations’ readiness to pull out their funding evokes an ominous vision of the theatre community’s future. Especially considering the Trump administration’s proposed elimination of the NEA, corporate sponsorship of the arts in the Trump era is likely to be paramount to sustaining our country’s strong commitment to artistic freedom and, ultimately, free speech. Without active public funds going to the arts, it will fall upon corporations and individuals to prevent the chilling of artistic expression and political speech, which is “indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth” and essential to thwart tyranny and corruption.
“It’s the nature of Fringe.” A phrase often heard, sometimes accompanied with a shrug, when something is less-than-ideal throughout the Fringe process. Though the “nature of Fringe” encompasses various challenges (we only have three hours to load in and tech a show in the space; our first time performing in the space is also our opening show, making it feel more like a frantic dress rehearsal), it also offers a sense of relaxed freedom–you work hard to make good theatre, but at the end of the day, it’s mostly for fun.
I’m happy to report that Love in Ruins at Capital Fringe Festival is off to a great start, with two lovely reviews after our first performance. Our opening audience was engaged and responsive. I’ve enjoyed building this intimate story with our phenomenal director Clare–it is so refreshing to work with a director who essentially reads your mind and creates a safe space to fail–and our wonderful cast and team. All in all, Fringe has been a blast and I look forward to four more enthralling performances!
“The troupe is quick and tight, a fantastic ensemble of actors with quick wits and good heads on their shoulders…Menendez in particular makes strong choices to humanize a character that could be read as cold and calculating…If you are looking for a sweet romance, a stirring period piece, or a heart-warming true story, this is the show for you. Heavy themes with moments of levity, “Love in Ruins” is certain not to leave your evening in ruins.” –DC Theatre Scene
“The cast was led by Thais Menendez as Mayte and Calvin McCullough as Guillermo. Both turned in solid, convincing performances…Menendez played Mayte as a strong woman, able to handle whatever the world throws at her. The fact that Menendez is a bilingual English/Spanish speaker lent to the play’s authenticity.”-DC Metro Theater Arts
This summer, I’ll be participating in DC’s Capital Fringe Festival as Mayte in Love in Ruins, a new work by Paul Handy, directed by the super brilliant Clare Shaffer. It feels particularly special to be entrusted with this story because Spain holds a dear spot in my heart, and because the story is nonfiction.
You know when you hear an album for the first time and it’s got you jammin in your seat? That is Nikki Lorenzo’s new EP, “Unravel.” Nikki and I grew up in the same town and I’ve watched her grow into the powerhouse artist she is today. I’d highly recommend giving her new album a listen–a soulful, earthy, bluesy amalgam of storytelling that will have you hitting replay. Give her a listen–you won’t regret it!
“El desprecio, querida, es un sentimiento terrible…excepto cuando es recíproco.”
These past two months have been a constant learning process for me. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside an incredibly talented group of artists in Señorita y Madame: The Secret War of Helen Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, the US premiere of Gustavo Ott’s play about two moguls of the early cosmetics industry. The piece explores the pernicious rivalry between these two trailblazers, painting their stories in the context of early feminism, two World Wars, and the Great Depression. I form part of the ensemble, playing various characters to support the rich, fast-paced progression of this fascinating story that at times presents itself as an outright brawl.