Kita y Fernanda
It’s a rare show and a choice one that merits a second viewing. Through deep reflections on language’s borders, and careful considerations of relationships in flux, this searing chronicle of the budding, bilingual bond between Kita, the daughter of an undocumented maid, and Fernanda, the Mexican-American Princess whose mother employs said maid, earns itself a spot on that atypical list.
Saracho’s new script has its weak bits: tepid and instructive monologues on the distance between white and Latino cultures and a pat presentation of the power plays that warp antagonistic female relationships. But every moralizing moment redeems itself with an instance of true instruction: A mutually incomprehensible bilingual exchange reveals the wide wedge language can thrust between family members; the subtle reverberation of a teenager’s piercing criticism exposes the universal current of everyday girl talk. Few plays explore such intricate subject matter; even fewer employ it only to shade the stimulating storylines that unfold center stage.
Filmer’s quartet of dynamic actors takes ample advantage of a superlative script. Belinda Cervantes and Suzette Mayobre, as Kita and Fernanda, respectively, give heartfelt if erratic performances; their rough-hewn attributes actually advance the action. Stephanie Diaz plays both matronly maid Concha and high-school hotshot Jessica with surprising self-possession. And Charin Alvarez, whose actorly acumen only emerges in an eleventh-hour about-face, proves simply resplendent as both Fernanda’s Spanish-speaking mother and hopeless, hard-worn Chela, Kita’s teen pal. Even those who follow Kita’s fluid fluctuations from Spanish to English will find the material rich enough to demand further inspection.