From Here – Plays & Songs

“Miss Margarida’s Way” looks at the life of a teacher in an eighth-grade classroom in the mid-1970s. On the stage is a desk, a whiteboard, a pole lamp, and Miss Margarida, brilliantly portrayed by Celeste Innocenti. The classroom is composed of students – YOU and the subjects taught range from religion and math to science, specifically biology and chemistry as they relate to sex education, and the facts of life which you will not actually receive except for odd snippets of pornography and suggestive, idiosyncratic musings by Miss Margarida’s convoluted sense of self.

Originally written and banned in Brazil, then censored after its premiere in that country in 1973, Miss Margarida’s Way opened in New York on Broadway in 1977 and has won numerous nominations and awards. This is Ramiro Daniel’s (Princesas Desesperadas) first time directing a play entirely in English; he does a stellar job that includes a couple of brief cameos onstage.

Miss Margarida’s Way is darkly amusing, and Celeste can do that ‘Teacher Look’ that 40 years later, still made me cringe and twist in my seat. (Incidentally, in the right light, Celeste looks exactly like Meryl Streep.)

The play is about power – albeit dark power that exists around the world where demanded obedience is just the beginning.

A hell of a great way to spend an afternoon – go to the matinee. Miss Margarida’s Way plays at Incanto at 3:30 pm every Thursday until the end of February. I, for one, will be seeing it again – it was that good.

“The Clean House” another directorial debut, this time by Josie MacGillvray. At the Boutique Theatre January 11,17, 18 at 6 pm and a matinee January 13 at 1 pm.

Opening Night performance prompted an intellectual discussion during intermission among Paul Crist, Paco Ojeda and me. We, each of us, found little anomalies that we passed on to the director afterward. The discussion was unusual in that the three of us noticed utterly different things – nothing amiss in the play, don’t get me wrong. The exchange occurred because we were all actively participating in the actualization of the play. We were so entertained by the characters that we found things in the first half that were maybe not quite right. That’s what entertainment is all about: Good entertainment inspires us to move closer to perfection perhaps, and The Clean House is engaging to that degree. Three cheers to the cast who were all perfectly prepared for Opening Night, and a virtual dozen long-stemmed-reds to the Director. Brava, Josie.

“Rodolfo”  Coco Tropical Restaurant Bar on the beach in Olas Altas. Every Sunday and Thursday 6 to 8:30 pm.

Everybody who walks in Vallarta knows who Rodolfo is. They see him strolling over the pedestrian bridge, pushing his wheeled speaker in front of him and his white cane tapping in rhythm and keeping him safe, as he sings his way across Old Town. “Friends of Rodolfo” emerged a couple of seasons ago as a way of helping Rodolfo find better jobs. And, jobs that would keep him off the streets. It’s difficult for him in the summertime, for example – he can’t expose his sound equipment to pouring rain, obviously. Last year, he started to sing Sunday nights at Coco Tropical. Lovely entertainment for those enjoying excellent food and wine right on the beach. I remember Super Bowl Sunday, last year. Heinz, the owner of Coco Tropical, told all of us, including Rodolfo, to not expect much of a crowd because of that critical game. The restaurant was packed to the rafters in spite of football, so if Rodolfo tells you he won the Super Bowl last year it’s because he did!

Join Rodolfo for beautiful music that you are welcome to dance to; superb food and the glorious sunsets are free.

Until this time next week, take care of one another and hug as many people as you can. Be kind. From Here.

Marcia Blondin