Interview: Bocón Arts' bilingual offering of United States premiere MÍA launches November 11
by Cassiopeia Guthrie, November 6, 2022
Bilingual performances in Spanish and English are a focal point of Amaranta Leyva’s play MÍA: All Mine, presented by Bocón Arts in its United States premiere from November 11-20.
The script, directed by Daniel Jáquez, follows Mía, an 8 year old girl who is reunited with her friend Sinforoso on the eve of leaving home with her mother. As the show progresses, Mía explores what are described as sad, difficult, scary, and nerve-wracking things and discovers the courage to stand up for herself. The company states that this production is appropriate for all ages to experience together and, to increase access to the family-friendly script, has prepared an English version, translated by Carmen Rivera.
Vanessa Flores Cabrera, who plays Mía, is making her debut with the company. As a trans-border theatre artist from the San Diego-Tijuana region, Cabrera explained that, as someone whose first language is Spanish, one of the biggest challenges was “to connect emotionally with the English version of the script in the way I do to the Spanish version. I find myself going back to the original Spanish text to support myself in the English,” she said. “Doing the play in both languages is such a wonderful learning experience as it has helped me find the character with behaviors and physicality created rehearsing both languages.”
She added that she hopes that audiences take from this show “that children, and people in general, are allowed to say ‘no’,” and don’t need to carry the trauma of their parents’ hardships. “Even in times of hardship,” she said, “no matter how grown we are, we all have an inner child at heart that deserves love, healing, and play.”
Lourdes Arteaga, the assistant stage manager for this production also mentioned the importance of that inner child. “One aspect of the show that speaks to me is the way difficult topics and conversations are brought up in such a childlike way," she said. "I hope audiences are able to be moved by this experience of seeing such a serious issue through a child’s eyes. By sharing the play in both English and Spanish, I also hope it is able to reach multiple communities and give everyone a chance to experience the beautiful range of emotions that this show brings to life."
Lester Isariuz appears opposite Flores Cabrera as Sinforoso. This show also marks his debut with Bocón and is his first time performing in Spanish. “What drew me to this production was the childlike dynamic between Mía and Sinforoso. It reminds me a lot of the old comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which I grew up reading as a kid… I feel lucky to have Vanessa as my castmate. We’ve had a great time exploring our characters together on stage, as well as working with our wonderful director Daniel to create the world of Mía.”
Flores Cabrera agreed: “I’ve really appreciated this process. The growth and push that I’ve gotten from the production of this play has been amazing. It’s a safe environment where I’m invited to better myself while learning. The production and creative teams are very supportive and talented theatre artists that have made me feel loved and allowed me to unlock my vulnerability and true self on stage.”
Production Manager Kayla Adorno, who also plays the physical presence of Mamá in the show, shared that the power of this production is in its applicability to all. “I believe this is an important story to tell to all audiences, not just children. The issue this play addresses is more common than we are willing to admit. I feel that telling stories containing taboo subjects helps a community feel more comfortable to discuss, seek understanding and support one another.”
Director Jáquez is excited for people to experience this production. “MÍA is a beautiful story,” he said. “It's sad, but very powerful while also hopeful. It's about the power of childhood and its imagination and the greatness that our hearts are capable of.”
MÍA: All Mine runs at the Woodbury University School of Architecture from November 11-20 with some performances in Spanish and others in English; more information and tickets are available at www.boconarts.org/our-stage.