We see visions. That makes us Mexicans.
― Luisa, Sparkles’ mother
Sparkles (wonderfully played by Barkley Romero) isn’t your typical Latina teenager. The high school senior lives in Highland Park with her mother Luisa (Lena Marie at her best), as their home steadily (and literally) rolls downward into Silver Lake. Her longtime boyfriend Sang (Kevin Young is wonderful) wants to marry her. However, Sparkles feels there’s more for her to do and be than settling to be the handsome Asian’s wife. One night, she decides to seek and finally meet the legendary Mexican ghost La Lloroña, the Weeping Woman, who lives at a nearby creek. Not knowing what to expect from the legendary Mexican spirit, Sparkle is both excited and intrigued. She recalls what her mother said earlier in the day about the cultural icon that “women need her.”
Before she leaves on her journey, she stops by Sang’s family business pet store. Instantly, he professes his undying love for her. He dubs her his princess and he is her prisoner of love. He badly wants to be her prince, he says, and promises to protect her. It’s obvious that he’s sincere and heartfelt which touches Sparkles’ soul. She chose a good man. However, she doesn’t forget her mission. La Lloroña is waiting. As she’s about to leave, her favorite uncle José Angel (Jaime Aymerich is highly amusing as the vato guardian angel) stops by for a small visit. He keeps in contact with Luisa.
Playwright Alicia Madrid shows a very mystical and spiritual piece of work filled with excitement and hope. She easily combines touches of the supernatural with questionable reality. Sparkles is the perfect go-between of the two entities. Her faith and courage are very much to be admired. Romero’s
talent to simultaneously depict strength and vulnerability is a treasured gift. She loves her man very much but knows she’s meant to be more than a wife and possible mother. Sang, who affectionately refers to Sparkles, as his only one, will no doubt be deeply disappointed when Sparkles moves away from him in search of her true self. With her uncle José and La Lloroña close by, Sparkles will be a new legend to be remembered and admired for the next generation.
Sparkles & the Black Weeping Woman plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 pm. until Sunday, November 27th, at The McCadden Place Theatre, located at 1157 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood. For ticket information log-on to www.sparkles.brownpapertickets.com and for reservations call (800) 838-3006.