Three Latina women raised on the U.S.-Mexican border, all lost in transit, share three different stories of navigating the complex terrain of cultural and gender roles. In Tanya Saracho’s disquieting new play, “Quita Mitos,” actors Adlyn Carreras, Cristina Castro and Thallis Santesteban are directed in their roles by Silvia Pontaza. The director grew up in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and has lived in the United States for the past 12 years, including the past two years in St. Paul. She is a resident artist with the Teatro del Pueblo theater company and spoke recently about the play.
What motivates you as an artist to direct “Quita Mitos”?
Silvia Pontaza: This is an important play because it presents three imperfect women, and I think everybody can identify with that. They are all running from issues that are very personal and intimate, and though at first the audience might feel uneasy with some of the things they say, certain aspects soon sound quite familiar. That tug-of-war within ourselves is great because it moves us to look for that inner voice. My primary motivation is the great conversations that the show will spark, either at the theater or at home-that is exciting.
How is “Quita Mitos” relevant to all women in Minnesota?
SP: There are some things that are very universal about this play. The three women are of first-, second- or even third-generation immigrant descent, but they all grapple with identity issues, body image issues and forms of abuse. The characters in the play are lost, and while they are having a conversation alone with themselves, the audience can listen in. The audience will hear some of their own questions asked by these women, and hopefully find a few answers to their own issues.
How is this play connected to your own experience as an immigrant coming from Guatemala?
SP: The three women are of Mexican descent, but the play is a brave realization about how we are all trapped in stereotypes reinforced by our own insecurities. If I were an immigrant from China or Jamaica, it wouldn’t make me see it differently. There are a lot of questions that I need to ask myself. These are questions every immigrant from every culture needs to answer. How? It depends on how comfortable each of us is in our own skin.