It’s been hard to organize my thoughts this past month. At times it seems like I’m shouting into a hopeless abyss, and the vibrations boomerang back at me. It hurts. I don’t know what to do, and so I turn to art.
“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.
I saw three plays this weekend.
That may not seem like much, but add that to my 40+ hour a week (emphasis on the plus) theatre job and rehearsals for my play, and it seems almost masochistic to voluntarily spend any more of my time inside a theatre–alas, I saw some really great theatre this weekend. Two of the three shows were a part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival currently happening in DC, although all three were about women. Yay, girl power!
Saturday evening, I accompanied a friend to see Theatre J’s season opener, Queen’s Girl in the World. It is an autobiographical one-woman show written by Caleen Sinette Jennings, currently a professor at American University. An incredibly layered performance by Dawn Ursula depicts Jennings’ life as a black girl at the height of the Civil Rights movement in New York City. It has been a while since a show held my attention so singularly. I couldn’t look away from Ursula for even a moment. This is easily one of the best pieces of art I’ve seen presented onstage in a long time.