Corazon de Manzana

By Dana Lynn FormbyCorazon de Manzana by Dana Lynn Formby

Directed by Jason Boat

Produced by Mortar Theatre

At the DAC Theater’s Storefront Theatre

Staging decisions distract from the power of Corazon De Manzana

There were several strong decisions made by either playwright Dana Lynn Formby or director Jason Boat that diminished the power of Corazon de Manzana. The mixture of realism, fantasy with stylized choreography plus a long scene completely spoken in Spanish without super-titles only confused story.

Corazon de Manzana

After we meet three families, one American, one Mexican, and one Canadian, we begin to realize that each family has a connection to the tragic femicide occurring in contemporary Juarez, Mexico.  Much of the entire first act involves the back story of the three families – each with a young girl. With all the clutter with the fantasy scenes and the  weird movement, the emphasis of the real story has to wait for all the stage antics to be played out.

Corazon de Manzana

The heavy symbolized doll finally shows  the desperate cry for help when a Mexican mother plea’s to find her missing daughter reaches the Utah family things start to pick up. And when the Canadian teenage girl with a transplanted heart, come up missing (a runaway really)- we see how all the thousands of missing Juarez women may be tied to the underground organ donor business.

It seems that playwright Dana Lynn Formby tried to dramatize the plight of the missing women to the organ trade  in North America. She tries to make a connection between suffering and privilege in the three countries but her underdeveloped story wastes too much time on theatricality and not enough on developing the wholesale murder of women in Jaurez, Mexico. Corazan de Manzana need to be refocused to make a stronger case about the multiple murders in Mexico.

I failed to see enough proof to believe that 3,100 women were killed in Juarez in 2010 and further that the organ trade contributed. Possibly, the massive drug trade has something to do with that rate? I also question how  the fantasy and weird movement contributes to the story.  Could it be heavy-handed direction or a lack of faith in the script?  A leaner staging sans the gimmicks would service the play well.  The cast tended to over act parts giving further evidence that they didn’t trust the material.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

At the DCA Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago, IL, thestorefronttheatre.orgg, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through September 25, 2011