Tuesday March 26 1:01 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

"La Ruta" - Review by Alan Bresloff


“La Ruta” is a tightly woven 100 minutes of solid story telling, sharply directed by Sandra Marquez on a set designed by Regina Garcia that allows us to see the simple lives these workers live. We are also privy to a graveyard of sorts where many of those found have crosses bearing their names, so the townspeople can remember those they loved. The lighting ( Jesse Klug) and sound (Mikhail Fiksel) as always is superb and the music direction by Zacbe Pichardo, excellent!! Laura Crotte, A Teatro Vista company member handles the guitar and the main vocal with great energy and her final song is so hauntingly beautiful, you will get chills up and down your spine. The songs date back as far as 1882 and are as current as 2008. Each adds great meaning to the story we are being told.

The cast of eight actresses is smashing. The always reliable Sandra Delgado portrays Yoli, whose daughter Brenda ( deftly handled by Cher Alvarez) goes missing. She has just started at the factory and is a mere teenager (16) when this all takes place. Her sister ,Marisela ( played to perfection by Charin Alvarez) becomes the one most concerned about stating a message and protesting. Karen Rodriguez handles Ivonne, another worker, who as it turns out has her own secrets in the telling of this story. Her scenes with Yoli, Brenda and Marisela are tightly woven allowing us to see that there is more to what we are hearing and seeing than we think. I will say no more, so you can judge for yourself.The other women of the community are Mari Marroquin, Isabella Gerasole and Alice da Cunha.

All of the sub-stories contained within the play are based on real people who Gomez interviewed, but names have been changed to protect them from being injured or even killed. These workers are caught in the web of the gangs that own the streets of Mexico. When a girl disappears, one can only hope that she has only been kidnapped or perhaps borrowed for the night. The other alternative is what they fear. There is a great deal of violence, which is one of the reasons that the people want to leave and come to America, just as our forefathers did ( without any walls!).

The fight choreography (Gaby Labotka) is well done and the projections (Rasean Davonte Johnson) spectacular. In particular, the final scene where the photos of those who have gone missing are projected on the three walls surrounding the stage. It is a moment when you think about how lucky we are to have the lives we have in our country . Gomez, was himself helped by the ladies of the border when he came to our country and vowed to tell their story. He has, with heart and soul as well as love for those who have lost their lives.

“La Ruta” will continue at Steppenwolf Theatre “upstairs” thru January 27th with performances as follows:

Wed, Dec 26: 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 27: 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 28: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 29: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Dec 30: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 2: 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 3: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 4: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 5: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Jan 6: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Tue, Jan 8: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 9: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 10: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 11: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 12: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Jan 13: 3:00pm
Tue, Jan 15: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 16: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 17: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 18: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 19: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Jan 20: 3:00pm
Tue, Jan 22: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 23: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 24: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 25: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 26: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Jan 27: 3:00pm

Stage: Upstairs Theatre
Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Tickets range from $20-$89

Special performances-Wednesday $25 Cultural Industry use code CULTURAL
Sundays (starting in January) post show discussions, looking at violence against women

Parking is available at the Steppenwolf Garage, a few doors South of the theater at 1650 N. Halsted
and valet parking is available as well.