Scary, Clean Fun
Supernatural comedy The Cleaning Lady debuts at Casa 0101 Oct. 16
Just in time for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos, Casa 0101 premieres The Cleaning Lady, a supernatural dramedy about a Chicana who finds she'll get to do a lot more than drink once she turns 21, she'll be a full-fledged curandera.
Published on LatinoLA: October 14, 2009
At first, Luz ignores this supernatural calling. After all, she's already having trouble balancing dating, an over-protective father and rambunctious coworkers/comadres. When she learns from her grandmother that she's destined to become a curandera like her deceased mom, her world is further turned-upside-down as she grapples with her first "cleaning" task, ridding the neighborhood of a transient demon. "We don't mean a demon who's homeless," jokes Chacon, "this demon has the ability to move from one host to the other, in this case, by simply making physical contact." The evil spirit needs Luz's powers to cut his ties to the underworld and remain on earth for good, but with the help of her cleaning lady buddies, Luz uses her new-found powers to disrupt the demon's plans.
The Cleaning Lady is penned by Casa 0101 founder and award-winning writer Josefina Lopez and writer-director-producer and paranormal expert Christopher Chacon. Independently, both Lopez and Chacon are established playwrights with a vast array of theatrical creations under their respective belts. "The major undertaking with this play is adapting this epic, larger-than-life story into our intimate theatrical setting. There are so many compelling concepts in the story and so many extraordinary scenes, it's like facing a mouth-watering, yards-long buffet and being forced to choose just a few dishes because you don't have enough room on your tray," says Chacon.
As a supernatural drama mixed with horror, comedy, and draped in a theme of female empowerment, Lopez and Chacon say The Cleaning Lady has something for everybody. "It's a story about a Latina girl who begins to realize who she really is at a time in her life where she cannot find her sense of purpose or direction."
The playwrights suggest they have intertwined a variety of enlightening life-lessons and metaphysical philosophies into the story to allow the audience to not only be entertained, but also inspired. The origin of the story's concept is a social statement in and of itself. "The idea for the cleaning lady came to me when I thought about Latina stereotypes. As Lupe Ontiveros, the star of Real Women Have Curves who has played 100 cleaning ladies and maids will tell you, 'That's all they see Latinas as.' I wanted to take that stereotypical role and make it multi-dimensional and metaphysical," explains Lopez.
Though the play is a fictional work, hints of it are derived from real-life, including the supernatural parts. Chacon--a world-renowned expert on real supernatural and paranormal phenomena, metaphysics and the occult--threw in mystical elements that bring the supernatural aspects of the story to life. The play "is a montage of little bits and pieces, experiences, things that I've encountered, things that I've heard of, things that my grandmother told me about," says Chacon.
In addition to Chacon's real-life experiences with the supernatural, he was raised by an abuelita who had special skills of her own. She too was a curandera who "always had an ofrenda going every day of the year, for as long as I can remember as a child, candles never burned out, they were always going, and she was always communing with the intangible," recalls Chacon.
Along with his childhood supernatural experiences, Chacon, a former investigator and researcher with The Office of Scientific Investigation and Research (O.S.I.R.), has traveled the world investigating and researching thousands of cases dealing with possessions and exorcisms, haunts and poltergeists, psychic phenomena and altered states of consciousness, UFO/alien close encounters, unexplainable anomalous phenomena and encounters with strange creatures.
Along with Chacon's expertise and Lopez's track record of works dealing with empowered Latinas, both of their imaginations bring authenticity to a play that aims to propel its audience into the world of the supernatural in a fun and heart-warming way.
THE CLEANING LADY
Oct 16ÔÇôNov 22, 2009
Preview: Fri, Oct 16 at 8 pm
Opening Night: Sat, Oct 17 at 8pm
Iliana Carter-Ramirez as Luz
Gerry del Sol as Rafael
Adrian Gonzalez as Enrique the Demon
Ericka Martinez as Lupita
Mario Martinez as Priest, Raspado Man
Carmelita Maldonado as Mariana
Ingrid Oliu as Abuelita, Maria La Curandera
Carla Valentine as Dora
Emmanuel Deleage as Real Demon
Casa 0101 Theatre
2009 E. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 5pm
$15 General Admission
$10 Boyle Heights Residents
*Group rates available