La Gringa is the story of Maria, the child of Puerto Rican immigrants living in New York, where she is seen as a foreigner. She travels to Puerto Rico to explore her roots and feel like a local. However, they also treat her as a foreigner, a “Gringa”. She desperately wants to be accepted there. She is also learning Spanish during her trip and the audience will learn some Spanish too, if they don’t already know it. In the Spanish version of this play, which is the longest running Off-Broadway play in New York Latino Theatre history, they had to adjust this part of the story. In that version, Maria speaks Spanish, somewhat incorrectly, at the start, and then her Spanish improves to a basic, decent elementary level.
While most of the story was in English, there is still a lot of Spanish in the performance. Most of the laughs seemed to come after someone said something in Spanish. Here is a list of translations to help out:
Atabey – Mother Earth
Coqui – A small frog-like animal, indigenous on to Puerto Rico
Guiro – A small percussive instrument
Jibaro – Farmer
Platano – Plantain
Yucca – an indigenous root
The UrbanTheatre is a very small space that only fits 70 seats for the audience. Six of these seats are even on the stage! This creates a very intimate environment for a story that rings very close to home for the Latin community in Chicago. Whether you are part of this community or if you want to learn more about it, this is a fantastic show for you.
Get tickets now for the extension of La Gringa through January 28th!