Radical Review – The Antidote to Loneliness is Love

Anna LaMadrid and Elizabeth Ramos in RADICAL
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Isaac Gomez was recently named by the Los Angeles Times as a member of “LA Vanguardia: The Latino innovators, instigators, and power players breaking through barriers.” The IAMA Theatre Company, which commissioned Gomez’s newest play, presents the world premiere of RADICAL OR ARE YOU GONNA MISS ME? at the Atwater Village Theatre. Never one to flinch from “telling it like it is,” Gomez’s RADICAL explores the dynamics of a Mexican-American family through the eyes of three women who fear being invisible and will do anything to be seen and known.

Kim Griffin and Elizabeth Ramos – Photo by Makela Yepez

Mexican-American sisters Belinda (Elizabeth Ramos) and Rosalie (Anna LaMadrid) have been estranged for a long time, each viewing the world through a conflicted and very different lens. Rosalie is a nurse who single-handedly cared for her ailing mother through her final days and now lives in the house her mother left her. Belinda has taken a different path. In her desperation to be seen and heard, she joined a group of female activists who welcomed her with open arms, validating her ideas and slowly converting her words to militant actions. Her new and very revolutionary best friend Erica (Kim Griffin) offers Belinda the acceptance and love which she craves. Belinda slowly becomes radicalized, flexing her ideological muscles by planting a bomb at a demonstration. Now Rosalie has come to the rescue and bailed her sister out of jail in the hopes that their coming together will make those earlier challenging years in the family home go away. What will happen to this stress-torn trio?

Elizabeth Ramos and Anna LaMadrid – Photo by Makela Yepez

Director Jess McLeod helms the production with strident power overlapped with an undercurrent of pain and compassion. Ramos, LaMadrid, and Griffin give their all in this tale of cultural conflict, family estrangement, and desperate loneliness. The creative team does a good job of surrounding the women with the wherewithal to reach the audience. Nicholas Ponting’s scenic design fills the bill, with Azucena Dominguez’s costumes, Josh Epstein’s lighting, and John Nobori’s sound offering a sheltering backdrop.

Kim Griffin – Photo by Makela Yepez

RADICAL will appeal to audience members who strive to understand culture clashes – and how radicalization can happen to people just below their level of awareness. Themes of loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, desperation, disenfranchisement, and guilt also pervade the tale and offer audiences the opportunity to see others at their worst – while trying for their best. This is a timely story that taps into society’s headlines to study people caught up in the storm.

Kim Griffin and Elizabeth Ramos – Photo by Makela Yepez

RADICAL runs through December 11, 2023, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursday 12/7, at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays ((dark Friday 11/24 and Monday 11/20), and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Tickets are $40. For information and reservations, call 323-380-8843 or go online.

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