You are the daughter of a revolution. You will survive.
When she was a girl growing up in the Dominican Republic, Gabriela Ortega’s nanny Patria would tell her animated and colorful stories. It’s not surprising as an adult she continues the tradition with her fabulous one-woman show LAS GARCÍA. It feels like a loving thank you letter to a woman who shaped Ortega as the grand storyteller she grew up to become. It broke Ortega’s heart when Patria had to leave to care for her ailing mother. In the eight months since Patria left, Ortega went through 14 nannies. They lacked a certain something that made Patria special.
But, Ortega, never forgot Patria or those vivid stories she spoke so dearly. Along with her favorite nanny, Ortega speaks highly of her grandmother calling her “a force to be reckoned with.” Born and raised in the DR, Ortega moved to Los Angeles when she was 17 to pursue a degree in acting at USC. She graduates next May. In the middle of recalling Patria’s love and care, she talks in a robotic speech then provides a code, Writer’s Log 4078, to later reference it. Her patois is both rhythmic and entertaining.
Along with Patria, Ortega recollects the struggle her family and the Dominican Republic went though under the ruthless dictator Rafael Trujillo’s 31-year regime. The brutality and injustice still burns in her memory as if it recently happened. Powerful stuff. In the same breath, she recalls singing in front of the Plaza Hotel in the DR with a sweet voice and loving soul. She rose above the evil gossip about her from the neighbors and continues her song. She catches the attention of two young men. Ryan with the khaki pants and Raul a revolutionary she reminiscences as “love at first recollection.”
Her loving tribute to the women she fondly remembers and empowered her and to a country she adored is fantastic and commanding. Her vivid memories are just as strong and vital, as it was when she was growing up. A definite and poignant piece of beauty and affection.
Las García ends on Saturday, July 16th at 7 p.m. at the Asylum Theatre (Studio C) located at 6448 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. For ticket information, call 323-988-1175 or log on to www.studiocartists.com