The Maria Chronicles | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Maria Chronicles 

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The framing device in The Maria Chronicles is a casting call for actresses to play a tough, sensual, fiery-tempered, streetwise barrio babe. As the actresses are rejected--one looks too African-American (too "Afriam" in agency parlance), one has the wrong accent, one can speak plenty of dialects but isn't sexy enough--wryly satirical monologues and sketches underscore the cultural prejudices faced by Latinas. Told to sound more "spicy," one woman protests, "What am I? A taco?" And later Jennifer Lopez's famous fanny is serenaded in a song titled "Nalgas unidas." But even as the Teatro Luna ensemble mocks the stereotypes, it pays homage to all the trailblazing "Chitas and Ritas." Theater on the Lake, Fullerton and Lake Shore Dr., 312-742-7994. Opens Wednesday, August 4, 7:30 PM. Through August 8: Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 PM; Sunday, 6:30 PM. $15.

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