Due to Hurricane Irma, The Tallahassee Hispanic Theater’s recent production, “Forever Yours, Juilta,” by playwright Roberto Ramons-Perea, that focuses on a no-holds-barred relationship between Julia and a well-known poet Luis, has been postponed.
The play focuses on the important issues of artistic integrity, male and female roles in Latin American society, and Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States.
Alejandra Gutierrez, who will be staring in the play as Julia explained, in preparation of Hurricane Irma, actors were encouraged to evacuate the city causing rehearsals to be pushed back. Gutierrez is also the founder and President of the Tallahassee Hispanic Theater.
“Unfortunately, we had to postpone it. We had to leave Tallahassee and we got really behind schedule with the rehearsals. However, we’re trying to secure a space here in Tallahassee for the last week in January, but we still haven’t heard back for the confirmation on the space,” Gutierrez said.
When the play begins, it is 1914, Julia is 19 and has written her first book of poetry and is seeking recognition. She attends a party given by Luis, who is celebrating an important prize he has won, a young woman.
The young woman gives Luis a copy of her book of poetry. A relationship starts between them: disciple, political enemy, rival poet and lover, that continues through their lives until the end of the play in 1942.
Originally set to be held in Tallahassee at Schnittman Hall at Railroad Square (Mickee Faust Theater) from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, during National Hispanic Heritage Month, the production will be held on Nov. 17 and 18 at Monticello Opera House at 8 p.m.
National Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 under the President Lyndon B. Johnson. It is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America and Central America.
Tiffany Underwood is an actress and attendee of the Tallahassee Hispanic Theater productions, who has had trouble attending shows because of scheduling conflicts.
“Some of their shows complicated with other shows that I was actually in. They just did a show and had it in another venue, and I couldn’t get to it,” Underwood said. “But they moved it again and had another weekend for it and I was ecstatic because I knew all them [in the play].”
Underwood said on Facebook that the November date for “Forever Yours, Julita” works out better for her and that she is looking forward to seeing the show.
“I was like I can make that. It was kind of tight, but I can move something around because I was really looking forward to seeing that show. They’re really good, they have some good actresses – and their next show I’m already planning to attend,” Underwood said.
Vice President of the Tallahassee Hispanic Theater, Anita Miller, said what encouraged her to become involved with the organization was the showcasing of how important it is to embrace and bring cultural awareness of Hispanic and Latin cultures.
“What I like is that our casting is very diverse, we have people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, walks of life, and even languages. Like Alejandra’s first language is Spanish, but many of our cast members’ first language is English,” Miller said. “We present the plays in English with some Spanish words in there, but we just want to make the plays very acceptable to everyone.”
Miller also said that what encouraged her to become involved with the theater is that she has been involved in theater her entire life – from being involved in community theater to studying theater in college, but it was seldom that she saw Hispanic characters.
“Very seldom did I ever see Hispanic characters or anything that came close to representing my mother’s culture and really the culture I grew up in because I grew up in Panama in the canal zone. So, I feel very much connected to the Hispanic culture,” Miller said.
The mission of the Tallahassee Hispanic Theater is to present contemporary Hispanic theater productions for the cultural education and enrichment of the community while building cross-cultural awareness.
“There’s this wealth of beautiful literature, wealth of beautiful culture… we’re just offering something different. It’s a rich rich culture that we just thought that it would be so special to be able to make it acceptable, not only to the American community, but also the immigrant community, the Hispanic community, everybody,” Miller said.
The next production for the Tallahassee Hispanic Theater will be “Blind Date,” by Mario Diament. Auditions will be held Oct. 2 and 3 at Laundry Cottage at Goodwood, and callbacks will be held Oct. 4. The performances will be at Auguusta Conradi Theater at Florida State University on March 23 and 25 of 2018.