Seattle Rep’s New Play Es Perfecto

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Jasmine Torres Mayorquin during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is an exceptional play. It showed angst, delight, and a roller coaster of emotions. Along with a beautiful set and a hand on the back with the stage crew.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a play put on by the Seattle Repertory Theatre, it puts you in the shoes of 15-year-old Julia Reyes, who is dealing with the death of her sister Olga and the pressure to be "the perfect Mexican daughter." A brilliant interpretation of a Mexican household and an emotionally strong play.

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A Raw, Latina Coming-of-Age Story

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Bervelyn Lopez Bernabe during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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From drama and comedy to real-life issues. A rebellious daughter and an obedient one (or so it seemed). The beauty and sadness of it all. The play adaptation of the novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez has it all and more. Brought to you by Seattle Repertory Theatre and playwright Issac Gomez, we explore the life of Julia Reyes, a Mexican American 15-year-old teen, as she navigates life after the tragic death of her older sister, Olga. Dealing with her grief, school, life at home, and more, she soon discovers that Olga might not be the perfect saint daughter we all thought she was. This magnificent, well-written play leaves the audience wanting more and at the edge of their seat with the actors, beautiful art, and wonderful portrayal of the story.

The play succeeded in making fans die of laughter, gasp from all the drama, and tear up with sadness. Actress Karen Rodriguez, who played the main character Julia Reyes, did absolutely amazing in portraying the emotional wreck and thought process of a normal 15-year-old Mexican American girl dealing with depression and anxiety. Throughout the play, Rodriguez never fails to stutter or forget her lines. She makes you feel empathy and sadness for Julia throughout the play and never once breaks character. She sure puts on a great show for the audience, making the audience in their seats feel the need to want to understand Julia as a character and person. Rodriguez has many lines and choreography to learn not only as the main character/narrator but in fact, performed flawlessly on stage. Sofía Raquel Sánchez, who plays Julia's older sister Olga, follows Julia in bits and pieces of the show, constantly showing up in the background of scenes. The rest of the main characters: Amá (Jazmín Corona), Apá (Eddie Martinez), Lorena (Leslie Sophia Pérez), and Juanga (Marco Antonio Tzunux) gave their raw emotions and effort to make this project truly come to life. At times, the show became so surreal that you forget you're even watching a play.

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I Am Not Your Perfect Play Critic

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Sherielyn Bannister during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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How do you cope when your perfect sister gets hit by a semi truck? And what are you supposed to do when you find out about the double life she was living? How can you ever tell your parents that their perception of their perfect daughter was totally wrong and now you have to carry the burden of a secret that will eventually eat you up inside? And eventually have to navigate through life and plans that come with the hardships of being a young adult, who wants nothing more than to be independent and to live a lifelong dream of being a writer? The truth is no one knows except for Julia Reyes, from the book and play titled I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by “Erika Sánchez”. Julia is a young person of color, which was something many people in the audience could relate to.

The story follows Julia after her older sister, Olga, passed away. Julia and everyone around her saw Olga as the perfect Mexican daughter, who was hardworking, pure of heart, and dutiful to her parents. That's what Julia thought until she found out Olga's secrets after snooping in her bedroom. The depiction of family and friend relationships and hardships were so realistic that it felt like people in the audience were watching real people go through real problems, the acting especially of Julia’s mother played by Jazmín Corona, struck the audience by capturing the strong emotions Julia's mother had to go through with Julia, Amá resonated with many people because of the accurate representation of many mothers everywhere. Another audience favorite was the friendship between Lorena and Juanga, played by Marco Antonio Tzunux and Leslie Sophia Pérez. Their friendship and how they showed they cared for each other and Julia was realistic and relatable, it enthralled the audience because it showed such a fun and dynamic friendship you can see young adults have, in one scene where they became friends after a compliment made by Juanga to Lorena because of her boots, which led to them finding out other interests they shared and becoming best friends.

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A Story of Self-Discovery as a Mexican American

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Ecna Aguilar-Santiago during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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You walk into the theater and immediately are captivated. Your eyes are lured to a woman in her casket, front, and center stage. The lights beaming directly on her face, smirking.

Humor, tragedy, romance, family, friends, a heartwarming coming-of-age theater masterpiece written by Isaac Gomez based on the novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez. The lighting, the simple props, the effects, the turntable, and the actors all come together to take you to Chicago and make you feel like you're living everything with them. Karen Rodriguez who plays the main character Julia Reyes does a mind-blowing, amazing job of portraying a bookworm Latina daughter dealing with a family loss. Issac Gomez’s play does a fantastic job of showing us the ups and downs of a teenage girl dealing with death, immigrant parents, mental health, and self-discovery.

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Perfectly Imperfect

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Nura Sherif during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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The play production of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was spectacular, featuring exceptional actors and compelling storytelling. The story follows a Mexican American girl named Julia Reyes who had to shoulder the death of her sister, Olga, who died in an accident. This pushed her parents to expect Julia to be just as perfect of a Mexican daughter as Olga was when she was alive, as a way of coping with their grief. This story showcases the struggles of family expectations, and grief, and how they can impact your relationships with others. Although it’s an entertaining, beautiful production, fans of the book will feel a lack of character development and rushed plotlines in comparison to the book.

The play came alive with wonderfully used music such as trendy pop songs at the party scenes and Hispanic songs during family event scenes, such as the quinceanera. Music and sound effects punctuated transitions setting the scene and tone for every moment and discovery.

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The Rocky Odyssey of a Not-So-Average Teenager

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Kalkidan Gebregziabiher during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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The struggles of a not-so-average teenager are crafted phenomenally in the I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter play. IANYPMD tells the story of 15-year-old Julia, who is a high school student in Chicago. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, making her a first-generation Mexican-American. She recently lost her older sister Olga, who was considered the “golden child.” Her parents adored her for how easy of a daughter she was to raise, unlike Julia. The play follows Julia’s school life, home life, and mental health struggles as she grows not only in age, but in maturity. Throughout this rocky odyssey, the play was able to effectively depict not only Julia, but how other teens with immigrant parents manage cultural differences within western society.

Julia’s relationship with her mom is noteworthy because it shows how the conflicts in their relationship stem from the different cultural environments they grew up in. Her mom did not support Julia having any interaction with boys, nor did she like the idea of her going far away for college. Instead, she wanted her to be just like her older sister, Olga, taking classes at their local community college and working a humble office job. Julia’s mom was raised in Mexico and suffered many traumas when crossing the border. Nevertheless, she worked as a housekeeper, cleaning rich people’s houses, to raise Julia and her sister. Julia, however, is set on creating a future for herself that is more than just being a slave to capitalism. She wants to travel the world and pursue a career as a writer. The play shows Julia’s inner thoughts through frequent asides, helping the audience to better comprehend the feelings Julia had about her mom’s aspirations and how they contrasted with her own hopes and dreams. The anger and betrayal Julia felt when her mom went through her things and disapproved of her journals were vividly characterized through her expressions.

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Is This Perfection?

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Richany Sorm during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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Comedic, a bit awkward, and heartwarmingly cathartic. Just a few words to describe an experience of Seattle Repertory Theater’s interpretation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

This is a story about coming of age. We are taken along by Julia Reyes (Karen Rodriguez) through all the changes, and ups and downs, she faces in her life. One of the most prominent is that of her older sister Olga (played by Sofia Raquel Sanchez) who died from a traffic accident.

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Creative and Beautiful Staging Can’t Save Poorly Written Source Material

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Elyssa Matute during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was a play doomed from its conception. The original novel, written by Erika L. Sánchez, boasts one of the most narcissistic and unlikable protagonists in its genre, Julia Reyes. Following her life after her sister’s death and her mission to prove that she wasn’t as perfect as her controlling and old-fashioned parents seemed to think she was. The novel flounders its pacing with too many poorly timed climaxes and a long, droning first act, along with many extremely on-the-nose lines. I appreciate their attempts to portray characters that were already lacking in depth and cutting scenes that deserved to be cut. However, playwright Isaac Gomez and director Juliette Carrillo overshadow the few moments of clarity and well-written scenes by the sheer crudeness and immaturity of the rest of the production. However, the creative team certainly succeeded in making this mess of a story genuinely a sight to behold with its accurate costumes, excellent sound design, minimal stage and props, some genuinely impressive and creative directional choices, and beautiful lighting.

The talented cast aptly captures each character, so much so that one can almost believe they are truly that insufferable in their day-to-day lives. Vocal coach Kate Myre did a fantastic job in guiding Karen Rodriguez’s voice to be as crass and annoying as possible, making Julia sound more like a caricature of a high school girl rather than a real person. Which is accurate to the novel, to be frank. Her monologues are especially irritating. And this sometimes leads to sad or serious moments coming across as more comedic than anything, such as any moments where Julia is crying. Each “joke” from Julia’s mouth is delivered with an embarrassingly screechy tone. Most of the time, the punchline is simply a curse word or a crude phrase, and sometimes not even words but just a juvenile scream.

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Balance the World of Love and Family

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Angelina N. during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj21

Our school had the opportunity of allowing 8th graders to watch local performers perform a rendition of the Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet - or in this case, Romeo y Julieta. The actors themselves did wonderful, however, myself and many others found that the play was quite confusing and boring. Many of us had no idea what was going on, and the play seemed to drag on for hours (which it technically did).

The play Romeo y Julieta follows the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers in Verona, Italy as they balance the world of love and family. The two meet at a masquerade feast where they both meet for the first time and fall in love. Unfortunately for them, their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been enemies for many generations. Even knowing about the feud, the two decide to get married with assistance from Julieta’s nursemaid and Friar Lawrence. The day of their wedding, Julieta’s cousin Tybalt and Romeo’s cousin Mercutio participate in a duel where Tybalt ends up taking Mercutio’s life. Upon hearing about the death of his cousin, Romeo finds, duels, and kills Tybalt. When the Prince found out about the deaths, he sentenced Romeo to exile. Julieta, not wanting to be without Romeo, or marry Paris whom her father is forcing her, tries to kill herself. However, Friar Lawrence helps her hatch up a plan for her and Romeo to run away together. Julieta fakes her death and awaits Romeo in her family tomb. The Friar’s plan however did not work because Romeo misses the Friar’s message about Julieta and goes to see her himself. At her tomb, he meets and kills Paris before finally seeing Julieta’s alleged dead body. He kisses her and downs some poison and dies at the foot of her tomb. Julieta wakes up not too long after to find Romeo dead and kills herself to be with him.

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They Would Do Anything to Be Together

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Binta So during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj20

Have you ever seen the play Romeo y Julieta? Well if you have that's great but if you haven't Romeo y Julieta, it's about two lovers that are very much in love but due to their religions and their families not liking each other, their relationship was not supported so they were not allowed to see each other. At the end they both killed themselves thinking the other partner was dead, so basically they killed themselves because they both lost the love of their life.

In the play Romeo y Julieta I liked when they never gave up on each other but i didn't like the mango scene because in my opinion it was unnecessary.

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Smooth Transition Between English and Spanish

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Ron Nguyen during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj19

The play Romeo y Julieta is about two people that are in love with each other. But due to their family, they can not be together.

In the play Romeo y Julieta, I was fond of the smooth transition between English and Spanish. I think this makes the play a lot more interesting. Because without it the play would seem a bit inaccurate because the play is set in a Spanish speaking country. So, with this edition, it makes the play a lot more interesting and the transition from the two languages is also very smooth and consistent. This makes the play a lot more pleasing to watch.

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Well Performed and Well Put Together

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Zoe Hamaker during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj18

In the play Romeo y Julieta, a play about two people who fell in love, their parents do not like Romeo. Then both ended up killing themselves at the end of the play because of their love and they both thought they died. I felt like it could’ve been more entertaining and more interactive with the audience.

I think it could’ve been more entertaining during the play if they would ask the audience member questions during the play as a more entertaining way to pull the viewers in because most of those kids didn’t pay attention half the time. But instead they made 200+ middle school kids sit in a small gym and watch a theater play about romance, and if you didn't know, those four things don’t add up. So I think it would be important to take into consideration that no middle schooler except for theater kids would enjoy Romeo y Julieta live action.

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A Forbidden Love

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company
Written by Norah Bustanoby during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj17

The play Romeo y Julieta was a play where Romeo had a forbidden love with a princess named Julieta. They quickly had fallen in love and later both committed suicide due to a staged death from Julieta.

I liked when Romeo and Julieta died because the actors really put in effort to make it seem that they really were hurt. The character that played Romeo truly did show how he was in pain from his lost love Julieta. Not just Romeo but Julieta did to her character, expressing to us that she was in so much despair that she would go as far to kill herself just to be with him.

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Their Strong Suit were the Suits

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Kameron Thav during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj16

This play is about two families in Verona, Italy. One of them being Romeo's family and the other being Julieta's, who have conflict against each other. Unfortunately, Romeo ends up meeting Julieta and Romeo and Julieta ended up falling in love. However, the families found out about this love and did not like it.

I liked the costumes of the play. I also liked the action in the play because it was entertaining but I didn’t like the language switching in the play, it was too confusing.

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Realistic and Action Packed

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Peter Vinn during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj15

The play Romeo and Juliet is about two lovers who want to be with each other but can't because of their families. In the play Romeo y Julieta they do a lot of sword fighting. One of them pretended to kill herself, but when the other found out, they killed themselves. They want to be with each other but their families had a rivalry so they couldn't be together.

I didn’t like the play as much because it was pretty confusing. It was confusing because there was a lot of talking and I could barely hear them. Also, the story in general was confusing when I could hear them. I liked how they were still going even when it got loud because it shows how focused they were into the play.

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Diversity of Language vs. Clear Communication

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Felix Cass during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj14

In the play Romeo y Julieta, two people named Romeo y Julieta, living in Verona, Italy fall in love with each other. But, they cannot get married because their families are rivals and forbid them from seeing each other. I liked the costumes, but I did not like that the play was in Old English.

The costumes in the play were very cool. I was able to tell all of the characters apart because of their clothes/props. I saw this when the person who played Mercutio changed from being the prince, to playing Mercutio by dressing in fancier clothes. This is important because if we weren’t able to tell the difference between characters, we would think one character is doing something a different character was doing, and would have no idea what is happening.

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Troubles With Communication in Romeo y Julieta

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Vincent Vincent during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj13

In the play Romeo y Julieta two teenagers meet and they fall in love. There are some complications between both of the families. Romeo's is a Montague and Julieta's is a Capulet; two opposing families. Julieta appears dead and Romeo sees that and he kills himself. Julieta saw that he was actually dead and then she kills herself. This play takes place in Italy and it is very unique. I liked the way that the actors knew what they were supposed to say and did not mess up their words, but I didn't like that I couldn't fully understand what they were saying sometimes.

I liked the way that the actors knew what they were supposed to say and did not mess up their words. I heard this when the actors were all doing their parts and speaking fluently. I also noticed this when they were fighting; they all knew what to say when they were yelling despite it being an intense moment; they were not stopping and trying to remember what they were supposed to say. This is important to me because It was enjoyable to listen to the play even if it was hard to understand sometimes.

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Props and Costumes That Stand Out

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Avy Le during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randj12

In the play Romeo y Julieta I liked the costumes, music, and the plot, but I didn't like the language. The play Romeo y Julieta is about how two people from rival families fall in love and that love ends in a tragedy. I liked the costumes and props because they were unique. In the play I saw that they had masquerade masks. There was one that stood out to me; it was the bunny one that Julieta was holding. It was so pretty.

I didn't like the set because I couldn't tell what and where the play happened because of the 4 posters which threw me off. In the play I noticed that each poster had a different place.

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Choosing Between Family and Love

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Bruce Franco during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School

Randjf

The play I am reviewing is the play Romeo and Julieta; it is a story that takes place long ago. There was a lot of romance aspects to the play, leaning towards a forbidden romance type of play. Something that was interesting is that they would switch from English and Spanish-- throughout the play just putting in random Spanish words. The play takes place in Vermont, Italy which helps us understand why they include Spanish into their scripts. The characters in the play were Romeo ,Julieta, their parents, the maids, the person that Julieta was supposed to marry, the priest and Romeo and Julieta's friends. All in all I didn't like the play for many reasons.

The play is about two people that are in love but they belong to rival families; the Montagues and the Capulets which causes a huge obstacle between them. They have to choose between family and love, making sacrifices for each other throughout the story. Many people try to get in the way and split them up because of their bloodline and family stuff but they all fail in the end. They go through many more challenges together and in the end they end up together forever. Something that I didn't like about the play was when they would talk they would speak in a olden time way and also the random pieces of Spanish made it confusing as well even though I could understand the Spanish. For the time when they were speaking in old English (Like most of the play) I would be so confused about what they were saying and the meaning of their words. I would be watching the play wondering what they were saying, Also I just found it unnatural how they would use the Spanish because in real life people don't just throw Spanish in a sentence full of English as much as they did.

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