Chance Theater Review: Alma

Alma

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“Alma” guides the audience on a roller coaster of emotions with the struggling bond between an immigrant mother and her coming-of-age daughter. The tightly packed 70-minute play is presented with no intermission delivering a solid close-knit bond of family in an intimate theater space set in a small apartment complex. Fitted with a living room, kitchen, and doors to bedrooms and a hallway, there is little escape from the confines of stressful occupations of morals, responsibilities, and dreams.

Alma (Marta Portillo) is under pressure as a mother to care for her child’s physical well-being and prospects while dealing with swirling political climates and deportation. Captivating performance as a first-time mother doing her best to maintain control and breathe a suitable life in a foreign country. Angel (Heather Lee Echeverria) is a reluctant youth eager to make her way in the world but on her terms. Wanting to make her own inexperienced choices to grow and thrive without constant supervision. Believable adolescent tendencies are marked by a tender display of truth and discipline.

Alma

“Alma” showcases a gut-wrenching and powerful sadness within the immigrant family. The timeless dynamic bond of mother and daughter fits into the timely climate many immigrant families face every day and for many generations. The push and pull between hard physical labor, SAT scores, and redefining the American dream. The escalating situations can be triggering to the sensitive hearts, curious minds, and traumatized souls of the audience. An intrusive interruption between fights comes in the form of a malfunctioning television set.

Alma

A similar story device like in the 2006 comedy-drama film “Little Miss Sunshine” with the yellow Volkswagen Transporter van. An audience drawn to dramatic immigrant family stories like “Kim’s Convenience” will certainly embrace this offering. “Alma” is brave and well-suited for Mother’s Day opening weekend which can be a challenging and respectful invitation to open discussion. Relatable, grounded, and thought-provoking.

Alma

Chance Theater presents the Orange County premiere of “Alma”. Written by Benjamin Benne, winner of the ATC National Latine Playwrights Award, and directed by Sara Guerrero (Founding Artist and Artistic Director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble). Now playing on select dates until May 31. For more information and ticket sales, call (888) 455-4212 or visit www.ChanceTheater.com.