Red, White and Sometimes Blue at Stories on Stage
A preview by Lisa Bornstein
In every culture, through time and across borders, you find the story: tales passed down, over and through generations. They are how we know ourselves and how we know others, and they are the mission of Stories on Stage.
So it’s fitting that this Colorado theater company’s latest offering looks at the stories told when the tellers come from a different culture to the United States, encountering the opportunities, struggles and confusion that comes with immigration. “Red, White and Sometimes Blue,” at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8, at El Centro Su Teatro, features work about arrivals from Mexico, Russia, India and different parts of Africa. All are told in Stories on Stage’s signature style, with accomplished actors given the space and the focus to spin a yarn without distractions.
The stories include:
Mahira Kakkar reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake,” which was made into an acclaimed 2006 movie and tells of a Benghali woman and her American son;
Rodney Lizcano reading Dagoberto Gilb’s “Uncle Rock,” about a boy arrived from Mexico, dreaming of baseball and watching his mother and the men who court her;
Cajardo Lindsey reading Dinaw Mengetsu’s “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears,” as friends from different parts of Africa pursue life in America;
And Jessica Robblee, reading Ellen Litman’s “The Last Chicken in America,” about a teenager newly arrived in Pittsburgh from Moscow.
“It’s about Russian immigrants coming to the US, and the adjustments of language, “ says Robblee, a veteran of Stories On Stage and area theaters. “It’s from the daughter’s perspective about her parents. They go to English classes together, and the daughter is more advanced than the parents.”
The story reflects a common generational struggle among immigrant families.
“Every now and then the dam breaks for each of them: The irritation, the difficulty of being in a new place just gets to be too much,” Robblee says. “What you also get a sense for is underneath it all, the fact that they’re on each other’s side at the deepest place, at the deepest level. “
As an actor, Robblee is attracted to the opportunity to expand into a story and letting it breathe.
“There’s a nice patience,” she says. “You want to move at a good clip, but you want to inhabit the time that you have. You don’t want to rush; you want it to be as full as you can make it. You get that chance to make sure everyone’s with you.”
Tickets for “Red, White and Sometimes Blue” are $28 general admission and $15 for students. Call 303-494-0523 or go to www.storiesonstage.org.