‘Yo la Llamo Rusita Rojas (I Call Her Rusita Rojas)’ at Teatro de la Luna by Colleen Sproull

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If more children’s theatre was like Yo la Llamo Rusita Rojas, I’d go more often. Yo la Llamo Rusita Rojas (I Call Her Rusita Rojas) by Cristina Ferrari is an energetic adaptation of Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood. With direction by Neher Jacqueline Briceño (from Miami!), this play is part of Teatro de la Luna’s Children’s Bilingual Theater Festival. In addition, there are dance performances (“Kids on Stage!”) throughout the day as well as activities for children, snacks and drinks, and beautiful jewelry for sale as part of the festival.

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The stage at The Rosslyn Spectrum was lit up by three talented actors Mario Alvarez (The Detective), Marcela Ferlito (Rusita Rojas) and Anabel Marcano (The Wolf). The commitment of these actors to the choreography and to telling the story made them so successful in making the audience laugh. Although most of the text is in Spanish and I only speak a little, I stayed engaged the whole time because of the energy and physicality. Ferlito had a huge contagious smile on her face throughout the show, and she often switched from speaking Spanish to English mid-sentence – very impressive!

Right away the audience recognized which characters were onstage because of the costumes (Rosita Bécker). The Detective donned corduroy pants and a blazer with a funny hat and big bow tie, the Wolf sported pants with suspenders and a big belly, and of course Rusita Rojas had a red cape. The upbeat music (Neher Jacqueline Briceño) and sound (Cristina Rebull) helped the audience understand when the characters were traveling through the woods (as when Rusita Rojas was on her journey to Grandma’s house), and offered great comedic assistance during the super cool slow-mo fight scenes (personally, my favorite part). A three-piece set on wheels offered a creative way for the actors to change scenes, travel through space and time, and interact with the audience.

The noon performance was the world premiere, and now it’s ready to be brought to schools and churches for great performances. There was a lot of fun audience interaction, from clapping and singing to a Q&A. The children were are encouraged to volunteer and come onstage to be questioned by the Detective and offer answers about, among other things, what happened to Rusita Rojas. A dozen children excitedly hopped out of their chairs and ran to the stage, hands high in the air, eager to participate. The moral of the story is, “We carry our inner child in our hearts, because being a child is very important.” What a positive lesson and reminder for the adults in the audience, this one in particular.

Running Time: Approx. 30 minutes, with no intermission.

Teatro de la Luna’s Children’s Bilingual Theater Festival was on Saturday, January 19th. For more information on upcoming performance at Teatro de la Luna, chekc their website.