Stage Play Review: A Cat Named Mercy

New play by Josefina Lopez depicta a realistic perspective of the political climate surrounding today's Obamacare issue

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: February 6, 2014

Stage Play Review: A Cat Named Mercy

Once again, the masterful & creative talents of Josefina Lopez and the theatrical staff & actors/actresses of CASA 0101 Theater in East Los Angeles have produced another wonderful reflection of life drama, depicting a realistic perspective of the political climate surrounding today's Obamacare issue from a human point of view rarely discussed in public forums‘«™in a very unique Latina flavor that is palatable to the last scene.

Directed by Hector Rodriguez, the story tells of a young single nurse named Catalina Rodriguez (played by Alex Ximinez) who struggles to support & care for her mother in East Los Angeles, who is undocumented, uninsured, blind and suffering from diabetes, and who hides a dark secret while fighting off Catalina's sincere efforts to care & provide for her, while Catalina ignores her own needs.

Veteran actress Blanca Araceli simply steals the show in certain scenes, as the stubborn & difficult mother "Mama Rodriguez", as she struggles to accept her condition & station in life while slowly losing her grip on reality and her ability to hide her dark secret that cost her her older daughter (played by Maricela Guardado) and her husband just a few years ago‘«™

During the course of her hectic workdays, Catalina embraces and soothes the suffering and frail patients under her care, is pursued & flirted with by an emergency 911 dispatcher (played by Michael Cota), assists a vain new co-worker Kate (played by Marquel Skinner) who will eventually betray her and threaten her job, endures racism from a rich white patient (played by veteran actress Susan Davis), is put under duress by an aloof, uncaring supervisor (played by Joy Acosta)‘«™and is finally overwhelmed by a personal tragedy that threatens her very life, which forces her to make an unthinkable decision in efforts to save her own life.

Nearing the limit of her sanity, Catalina encounters a beautiful white stray cat who seems to come to her at her darkest moments to comfort her‘«™and who is mysteriously present during the moment of death for some of Catalina's patients, who happily leave this world under questionable circumstances.

As is becoming her unique trademark, Josefina Lopez displays her uncanny knack for combining reality, drama, humor, and the spiritual world of the afterlife so revered by Latinos into her stage plays, as some of the scenes of three patient's final moments on earth and their emotional welcome to the afterlife are artfully and masterfully portrayed in chilling scenes.

I sat in the audience on opening night with the lucky, full house crowd, and I heard ( and felt) the emotional "awws" from an enthralled audience as patient Harold Smith ( played by Henry Aceves Madrid, star of "Trio Los Machos) leaves this world as an elderly man to embrace the spirit of his long lost wife, now welcoming him into the afterlife as a young beautiful woman as Thee Midniter's classic song "That's All" hauntingly plays softly in the background... and they embrace in an eternal dance, a song he had earlier told Catalina he sang to his wife many years before‘«™and one Catalina had caught him singing to her picture before he made a cryptic but heart felt request.

I thoroughly enjoyed this stage play on personal terms, as I am a Licensed Healthcare Professional for many years, a Chicano all my life, and a lover of the Arts‘«™and all three of these nerves were hit but good!

I plan on returning to see this play once again before it closes February 23rd and bringing friends‘«™and I HIGHLY encourage and invite you all to do the same. There is NOTHING as memorable as a well directed and well produced stage play that touches the soul of the community...

‘«™and LatinoLA takes pride in stating that CASA 0101 does it right, down to the last surprising ending scene !

Author's note: For more info www.casa0101.org

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is heard daily on Internet radio station www.eastlarevue.com and is a regular contributer to this fine web magazine
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