The Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall was nearly filled as three young women performed the College version of Linda Nieves-Powell’s “Yo Soy Latina!” last Thursday in preparation for Women’s History Month and Latin Awareness Month.
Laughter filled the concert hall as Nicolle Anderson-Guerra, a recent graduate from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, Antonia Marrero, an actress in the National Touring Company, and Crystal Roman, a member of Latino Flavored Productions, Inc., a multimedia entertainment production company founded by Nieves-Powell, lit up the stage with their spectacular performance. The performance was bright and entertaining.
“Yo Soy Latina!” examines the lives of six diverse Latina women in their struggle to find themselves in the modern American setting. The play’s basis unites these women to share their stories. Anderson-Guerra, Marrero and Roman depicted these characters to the best of their abilities and showed promise and inspiration while doing so.
There is Maria Elena, a Panamanian who faces discrimination from other Latinos because of her dark-colored skin.
Migdalia was a Nuyorican who experiences chauvinism from her own family because of her marriage to a man of another race.
Alicia is a Columbian actress who struggles to get Latina roles because of her light-colored skin.
Louisa is a Cuban-Irish woman who fights to defend her right to be Latina. “I love that I’m two parts uniqueness,” Anderson-Guerra said as the voice of Louisa.
Jennifer is a young Mexican-American college student who is on the path to discovering her Chicana rights. “She left me with the burden and wonderful gift of finding out myself,” said Anderson-Guerra as the voice of Jennifer, speaking about the loss of her abuela.
And finally, there is Soledad, a Dominican mother who finds the courage to leave her overbearing husband in search of her own dream. “I want to be free to experience life,” Marrero said as Soledad, “I have loved you, but now I must learn to love myself.”
The humorous and poignant play is inspirational to not only Latinas, but to all women. “Yo Soy Latina!” teaches women about the road to self-discovery and to be proud of who they are.
The College production of “Yo Soy Latina!” takes audience members into a voyage through Nieves-Powell’s own heart and mind, in the search of finding her identity. “Please God, tell me who I am,” Roman said, the narrator of the play in voice of Nieves-Powell. The College production uses two actresses and a narrator, rather than the full six actresses who perform in the full-length off-Broadway play.
Anderson-Guerra stole the stage with her impressive performance. She was witty and humorous and proved to be proud of her Cuban heritage. “You are the only person that makes that decision,” Anderson-Guerra said in an answer to the question of choosing one’s religion and heritage, “If that’s the first thing in your heart, than that’s what you are.”