Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Milagros Ponce de León's scenic design symbolizes the characters' two lives: a tree-shaped hole in the sky that reveals a scene of either New York fire escapes or the Dominican flag. The story begins in 1990 with Yolanda (Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey), a writing teacher who wonders why she lost interest in her own gift as an author, as the family gathers for her father's birthday. The scenes progress in reverse chronological order, ending with young Yolanda and her uncle (Bryant Mason) before the family left for America.
The other sisters are imperious Carla (Maggie Bofill), the oldest; Sandra (Sheila Tapia), considered the most beautiful as a child; and outspoken Sofia (Veronica del Cerro). They have a variety of problems during their lives, including divorce, unrealistic expectations of men and romance, bullying by schoolmates, and the differences they must navigate between their beautiful and tropical but politically repressive homeland and the freer life they find in New York. Perhaps it isn't a surprise that emotional isolation and depression are a common thread in their experiences.
The four actresses do well in conveying their characters, successfully shifting from their immobility in middle age to bubbly, imaginative childhood. (Kate Turner-Walker's costumes help with the conversion.) Marian Licha and Emilio Delgado are fine as the stalwart parents, while Mason gets to show off as the various men in the sisters' lives, including a smarmy hippie poet, a good-hearted German, a domineering Dominican, and a well-meaning priest.
Round House Theatre