Latina Christmas play steals laughs

By Mayra S. Ventura

“The Latina Christmas Special” is an outstanding Christmas comedy with all the right elements of comedic theater.

“Deck the halls with guacamole! Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…” If you are looking for a good laugh and a sprinkle of tears, consider “The Latina Christmas Special.” From its original plot to its original music, it will make you laugh and it will make you cry, all in 90 minutes.

With a standing ovation, Diana Yanez, Sandra Valls and Maria Russell finished their opening night of The Latina Christmas Special at The Los Angeles Theater Center on Nov. 21.

As if holidays didn’t already come with mixed emotions, get ready to experience them from a dramatic, funny and interesting perspective. This play highlights the emotional and relatable feelings the holidays bring.

Three first generation Latinas, Yanez, a Cuban American from Miami, Florida, Valls, a Mexican American from Ladero, Texas, and Russell, a Mexiuanian of Mexican and Lithuanian descent, come together to bring a different Christmas theatrical performance.

They gather to remember and celebrate past Christmas experiences growing up in Latino families within their American homes.  “La Llamada de Navidad” shared by Russell had the audience laughing uncontrollably as she retold the story about how she and her boyfriend Craig took their next step into their relationship.

Yanez humored the audience with flying cucarachas and Miami Dolphins. The audience went wild as they to related to the family Christmas drama.

Sandra had the attentive audience in silence as she shared an emotional moment from her Christmas holiday past.

The production was created by Yanez. “I wanted a balance. I wanted to reflect three different types of Latinas and create a balance,” Yanez said.

What began as just an idea has brought these three comedians together to celebrate the diversity among Latina women.

This production holds Yanez’s vision for balance. Yanez brings the drama and sassiness to the play. Yanez refers to Vall’s story line as “the anchor of the whole show, because talking about what she learned from her childhood experiences and seeing things from her perspective is everything.”

“The Latina Christmas Special” undertook new changes. It is being shown under a new vision directed by Geoffrey Rivas.

“Latinos keep doing original work all the time. It’s not like they keep producing lurking plays over and over, no! They do their own stuff, reflect their culture. I am appreciative of that. And that’s why I come and support them,” actress Ivonne Coll said.

Not only did the audience members leave the theater with sore stomach muscles from laughing so hard, but they also left with a much stronger appreciation for the Latino culture.

This production will be presented for five weeks running until Dec. 20, 2015 at The Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Monday night performances will be held on Dec. 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. A Wednesday night performance will take place Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.

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