Sometimes being a Mexican is hard
Doña Maria Rodríguez
What happens when a Beverly Hills socialite is forced to room with her recently fired housekeeper’s family after her husband pulls off a Bernie Madoff crime? Practically anything and everything occurs. Parker Reed (hysterically played by the wonderful Kim Chase) packs up her whole house and rushes to make a new home with her former maid Rosario “Rosie” Rodríguez (another gem of an actress Ingrid Oliu) Rosario’s mother Doña Maria (Marina Gonzalez Palmier) and sister Blanca (Maria Russell) in their crowded one bedroom apartment. La Doña isn’t having it how this privileged gringa from the other side of town just comes in and takes over.
That’s La Doña’s job as she rules Rosie’s house with an iron tongue. All Blanca is concerned with is her grand venti-quinceañera, (20th/15th), party. It took her a long time, but the young 35-year-old woman is determined to have the party that was denied her. As a former model, Blanca is proned to dramatic gestures with heavy exaggeration. When she leaves or enters a room, everyone senses it. Especially, when it comes in the form of Vladimir (a very handsome Robert Jekabson) a tenant living in the basement, who prefers the sexy man outfit of a white muscle shirt and form fitting jean shorts. No arguments here!
As Rosario plans her next employment move, her supernatural mother whips up potions and spells to get rid of their current situation. La Doña should have prayed harder because the problem swoops in with luggage, wearing expensive clothing and maintains high expectations on how to be treated. Mrs. Reed isn’t hard-core obnoxious, although she is a bit demanding, and she somewhat accepts her current situation but she still expects Rosie, who she affectionately refers to as Rosebud, to tend to her needs as usual. La Doña and Blanca do not understand why Rosario doesn’t tell this ex-housewife from Beverly Hills to keep it pushing along and flee quickly. Rosario has worked for the Reed family for over twenty years and has a deep connection and concern for Mrs. Reed. She can’t simply throw her out because it’s an inconvenience. Her mother and sister feel otherwise.
Writers Josefina López and Kathy Fischer create a sweet, tender and amusing story with a lot of spirit. It’s a parallel of two worlds, the rich and poor, the grass is always greener and the haves and the have-nots. Mrs. Reed looks like she has it all, and from the outside, she does. Until the IRS seizes her house and belongings while the Feds take her husband away. Rosario seriously considers selling her homemade macramé at a nearby swap meet for an extra infusion of cash, but at least her family is intact. They know how to survive when things become rough. Unfortunately, Mrs. Reed never learned that lesson living in a glass house where money flows like a steady current.
López and Fischer looked beyond the stereotypical, ill-mannered rich woman who degrades everyone in her path or the disenfranchised poor barely surviving on crumbs. All four women get their point across, have enormous personalities and possess a genuine heart. Bravo to these ladies for creating a wonderful story that is touching from beginning to end.
Clean Start plays Friday, February 13th at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 14th at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 15th at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Casa 0101 Theater, located at 2102 E. 1st St., Los Angeles. For ticket information, call (323) 263-7684 or log on to www.casa0101.org.