Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot
The Vortex Theatre
Review by Carole C. Sullivan

Also see Carole's review of Fun Home


Marcus Ivey and Kim Delfina Gleason
Photo by Jason Ponic
The Vortex Theatre has traditionally presented at least one play each season from the Hispanic experience. José Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot examines contemporary issues within the context of magical realism motifs and provides a thoughtful evening in the theatre. Director Miguel Martinez says, "I love the combination of magical realism and contemporary issues that playwright José Rivera balances in this play. The diversity of the cast makes the play even more interesting, as words and reality collide."

The play captures a few critical days in the lives of Gabriela, a lonely army wife, and her husband Benito, who has just returned from deployment. In the domestic setting of their house they grapple with issues of war, including his PTSD. Benito and Gabriela symbolize the relationship between the Latinx communities and the U.S. Army, adding another layer to Rivera's work. There are many questions in their marriage. Can you live with someone who's lost what you fell in love with? Can you expect someone to stay the same when you have changed?

Meanwhile, outside the house the fantasmagorical characters of Cat, Coyote, and Moon reflect and comment on the action while providing comic relief. Music, dancing and poetry enhance the philosophical questions of the play and make it more accessible.

The six-member cast is outstanding. Kim Delfina Gleason is a seasoned actress and director and brings a wealth of theatrical experiences to her portrayal of Gabriela. She uses her full vocal range and her whole body to bring Gabriela vividly to life. As Benito, Marcus Ivey certainly looks the part of a soldier with his tight, muscular body; he is also thoughtful and moody as the part requires. Catalina, as Cat, and Darryl de Loach as Coyote are expert physical actors and handle their slapstick antics with aplomb. Veteran actor Henrique Valdovinos is wry and all knowing as the observing Moon. As Martin, Banx Tenorio is appropriately befuddled.

Unfortunately, the play on opening night seemed under-rehearsed. The pace was erratic and some actors had difficulty with their lines. The show needs additional rehearsal to iron out these kinks and allow the actors to relax into their portrayals and find the rhythm of the transformations in the script. No doubt all will be smoother later in the run.

References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot runs through June 19, 2022, at the Vortex Theatre, 2900 Carlisle Avenue NE, Albuquerque NM. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. General Admission tickets are $24, $19 Students. For tickets and information visit www.vortexabq.org or call 505-247-8600.

Written by José Rivera, Directed by Miguel Martinez, With: Kim Delfina Gleason as Gabriela, Marcus Ivey as Benito, Catalina as Cat, Darryl de Loach as Coyote, Banx Tenorio as Martin and Henrique Valdovinos as Moon.


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