US Spanish Language Premier of Esa Nena Rie, Esa Nena Llora, Esa Nena No Hace Nada at the PC’s John Paul Theatre

Monday, October 2, 2023
The poster for the Phoenix College production of Esa Nena Rie, Esa Nena Llora, Esa Nena No Hace Nada
Dr. Christina Marin talks with students about making space for diversity in theatre during Hispanic Heritage Month on Phoenix College's campus
Phoenix College students rehearse for the US Spanish Language Premeier of Esa Nena Rie, Esa Nena Llora, Esa Nena No Hace Nada in Phoenix College's John Paul Theatre which is performed in Spanish with English supertitles
Dr. Christina Marin is a proud Latina and the director of the US Spanish Language Premier Esa Nena Rie, Esa Nena Llora, Esa Nena No Hace Nada

En Español. "I speak Spanish every day," said Phoenix College (PC) student Aylen Gutierrez, who plays the oldest of three sisters in the the US Spanish Language Theatre Premier of Esa Nena Rie, Esa Nena Llora, Esa Nena No Hace Nada at PC's John Paul Theatre Friday, October 6 to Sunday, October 8. Born in the US, Aylen learned Spanish from her parents as a child, and English in kindergarten, becoming fluent by the first grade. “When I'm at home, I speak Spanish, and when I'm outside my home, I speak English or Spanish, depending on who I'm with.” According to AZ Big Media, 39% of the Phoenix population speaks Spanish. Aylen will put her language skills to use in this production, which is performed in Spanish with English supertitles projected behind the stage. Aylen is excited to be in a Spanish production because it “invites more people in our community to come and see it,” she said.  

Written by Tasmanian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, the play–titled This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing in English­–follows three triplets who are abandoned in a forest by their woodcutter father after their mother has died, forcing them to find their own paths in the world. Three resolutions develop from this fairytale: one sister departs to find purpose, another to find adventure, and the third stays put, creating a home. Years later, the three meet again as women after circling the globe, fighting Vikings, toppling lighthouses, taming wilds, and achieving greatness. "We're working with this incredible universal story," said Dr. Christina Marín, who directs this production and serves as  PC’s Theatre and Film Program Director. And yet, "The original Spanish translation from Argentina–which has very specific dialects and dynamics–wasn't ringing true for a US audience," so she and a team of PC Spanish speakers retranslated the play.  

Make Your Voice Heard

"If you don't hear your voice, make your voice heard," Dr. Marín says. In a recent Student Life and Leadership conversation for Hispanic Heritage Month titled “All the World’s a Stage,” Dr. Marín talked about her career and the ground-breaking work of making space for diversity in theatre.  "Being a Latina who came into a space traditionally occupied by white men," Dr. Marín said, "there's a different vibe in the theatre building, a different language being spoken–literally." That language is Spanish. Phoenix College is a proud Hispanic-Serving Institution and recently received the prestigious Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, due to the work of many PC faculty and staff. 

Kat Dover, the production’s prop designer, pursued her interest in theatre after the pandemic. Laid off from her job as an EMT, she never thought of theatre as a career but submitted a theatre program inquiry and Dr. Marín called her the next day. "We talked for an hour, and then I signed up for classes and started a month later,” Kat said. “It's what I needed to re-energize after the pandemic." She also noted the prop-heavy show has a minimal set, so Dr. Marín invited actors to choose a prop (a loaf of bread, a golden ball) and "use the prop as something it's not," which is a big throughline in the show.

PC theatre major and Assistant Stage Manager Marciela Gutierrez has loved performance since she was little. Still, she only became involved in theatre in high school because her middle school didn't offer a theatre program. However, after four years of high school theatre, Marciela knew it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Marciela's family all attended PC. They are all lawyers or nurses. She is the only theatre major. Her focus is acting, but she's trying out the various roles theatre offers. "This is my first time stage managing, and I co-designed hair and make-up for the first time on PC's production of Ride the Cyclone,'' she said. "I've never done a Spanish-language play, but my family speaks Spanish, so the production feels homey. We make jokes in Spanish," she said. "The play is more personal this time because my family can come to see it and understand it fully." Marciela is grateful PC is spreading this message to the community to come experience theatre in Spanish. 

Latina Pride

A proud Latina with her Ph.D. in Theatre from ASU with a dissertation about engaging Latina adolescents in Theatre for Social Justice, Dr. Marín plans to diversify PC’s theatre program through new hires and exchange programs. She mentioned wanting to take a PC production to an international venue like the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, or to a festival in Mexico or Colombia. "It's not just about bringing Latino stories to life on stage in Spanish. It's about bringing Shakespeare to life on stage in Spanish." The first two shows of this Spanish-language production are already sold out. 

Take advantage of your chance to see and hear this trailblazing Spanish-language production. Tickets are still available on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 8, at 2:00 p.m. 

If you, too, are interested in exploring theatre as a career, check out PC's Theatre degrees, including two fast-track certificates in Technical Theatre: Properties (aka Props) and Stag Crew Technician.