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Border Lines at the BPP

The current offering at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, "Border Lines," offers "Trio," a set of three plays by Latino and Latina writers directed by Noe Montez alternating with "S-E-X - OH!" presented by the Chicago based group Teatro Luna.

Thursday night I caught up with "Trio." One of the pleasures of the Playwrights Project is the opportunity to see plays that are new to the audience, new to the performers and often still new to their creators. If plays are indeed the children of playwrights, these are three very different kids at quite different stages in their development.

"Farewell to Hollywood" by Guillermo Reyes is a real little show off. At the center of a theatre company which is putting on "Anna Karenina" with a cast of three, is the always charming Emilio Robles. He's surrounded by Lauren Steffen as a formidable male drag queen playing Anna and a lovely smiling Michael Borgmann, playing the train. In the midst of what has to be a fiasco of a performance, they're visited by the former company member now soap star, the stylish Jessica Ciucci. Victor Ortiz, shows up as a fan, a local critic, Miguel Bonaparte and a waitress. Like some small children the farcical "Farewell to Hollywood" is a bit too unfocused, and sticks around too long, but is darned cute.

If "Farewell to Hollywood" is an attractive toddler, Elaine Romero's "Undercurrents" is a fascinatingly bitter teen ager. Amada Cotti-Lowell is an attractive young woman, a loner living in a little home full of family memories. She's in the process of settling for Emilio Robles, a man who loves and will take care of her when an old boyfriend, Tony Sancho, appears and tries to rekindle their romance. At the end of extended scenes full of repetitive angst with each of the men, Cotti-Lowell's character decides to deny both men and stay with her houseful of remembered familiar faces. The play almost has the feel of a soap opera but "Undercurrents" undercurrent has that teen aged bitterness.

The brief middle play of "Trio" is Raul Castillo's "Death on My Mind." It's the most grown up of the trio of playwrights' children. Sebastian Tejeda, Marco, and Tony Sancho, Joaquin, are a couple of men who drive truckloads of job-seeking illegals from Mexico into the States. These coyotes are on the run from a horrible fiery crash that killed the men, women and even children they were hauling. Both men are badly shaken and know that they are in danger, but in the emotionally complex drama Marco understands that Joaquin can't live with the play's "Death on My Mind."

The "Trio" of plays in "Border Lines" at the Bloomington Playwrights Project plays Sunday at two, Thursday the 28th at eight and Sunday the 30th at three. They alternate with the Teatro Luna's "S-E-X - OH!"

You can an interview with director Noe Montez and actor Emilio Robles on our Arts Interviews page .

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