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Fairy-Tale Sorrow

For Bay Area poet-turned-playwright Marisela Treviño Orta, the Latino legend of La Llorona has always been more ghost story than parable: “She is kind of a bogeyman, a scary figure,” Orta says of the woman in white who is damned to roam the earth in search of the children she drowned to spite a lover. “Young children were told that she’d mistake you as her children and pull you down to the depths.”

In the El Centro Su Teatro world premiere of Braided Sorrow -- Orta’s debut as a playwright, about the murders and disappearances of female sweatshop workers in Ciudad Juárez -- La Llorona emerges as a sympathetic character who is drawn to Juárez because of all the death. The play, a non-linear production often featuring poetry in the place of monologue, weaves together the mythology of La Llorona with the reality of Mexico’s modern atrocities.

“What I would like is to create empathy for the characters of the play,” Orta explains. “In some ways, I almost hope it will break the audience’s hearts a little bit. No one will care unless they can identify with the characters and truly sense the injustice there.”

Braided Sorrow runs weekends through October 18 at El Centro, 4725 High Street. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors, $18 for everyone else; tonight’s performance is free for community groups, and tomorrow night’s is free for anyone in the education field. Get more information at or by calling 303-296-0219.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8:05 p.m. Starts: Sept. 18. Continues through Oct. 18, 2008


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