“Boleros” in Memory


The Family UnitedMy last show with A.C.T. this season was assisting Sandra Woodall on “Boleros for the Disenchanted,”  an autobiographical piece by playwright José Rivera.  The story spans continents and generations, following his mother and father’s relationship from the village of Miraflores and bustling Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1953 to the Fort Rucker army base in Daleville, Alabama in the early 1990’s.  The play gives us insight into the universal American immigrant experience and how dreams are changed by time and betrayals.

Befitting these themes, Sandra wanted to focus on dressing the characters according to memories relating to our own families’ immigrant experiences.  We combined José’s photos of the people the characters are based on, our family snapshots, and vintage photos of Puerto Rico to flesh out the costumes with many authentic personal touches.  Don Fermin wears my abuelito’s (grandfather’s) fedora and checked shirt and Old Eusebio carries grandpa’s lucky Joker and picture of John Wayne in his shirt pocket (“a real man’s man”).   Old Flora is wearing Sandra’s aunt’s house dress and my grandmother’s jewelry from the ’90s while Dona Milla dons the faded navy dress and thin cotton apron of Sandra’s family from a small village in Portugal.

We hope that grounding the characters in such a specific reality will help the story resonate with the audience as a truth that relates to their own lives.  Were we successful?

Production photos by Kevin Berne

One Response to ““Boleros” in Memory”

  1. 1 raquel

    The costumns and wedding dresses are awesome. The personal touches with the Puerto Rican costumns were touching. You are so talented. Wish I was young and getting married.

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