Writer/performer DIANA YANEZ discusses The Latina Christmas Special, co-created and performed by Yanez, Sandra Valls, and Maria Russell, and directed by Geoffrey Rivas, through December 20 at Los Angeles Theatre Center.
“I’m a big fan of theater and a passionate storyteller. Storytelling is a really great opportunity to share our experiences with other people and I thought, I want to do more people’s stories. It came to mind to pick a subject that would have a lot of stories swirling around it. Christmas seemed like the right topic. That’s when I contacted my two buddies and really talented actresses, Sandra Volls and Maria Russell. I said let’s do this: three mini one-woman shows inside of a play, where three women get together and start telling stories of their childhood Christmases. I am Cuban-American from Miami. Maria is Mexican and Lithuanian. Sandra is of Catalan heritage. So, we are all Latinas, first generation American, but our family backgrounds and cultures are very diverse. Maria and I had been in a comedy group together. And Sandra and I knew each other from the standup comedy circuit. The three of us love family, love Christmas and love finding the humor in things. This is the third year for us doing this show. The first two years, we did it at a small space on Theatre Row in Hollywood with no budget. We had to do everything ourselves. This year, Geoffrey Rivas pulled us out of that small theater and brought us to LATC. Suddenly, we had a budget, rehearsal space and a whole crew. Geoffrey also pointed out that formerly, we had kind of thrown the show together, focusing on the monologues. Geoffrey had a vision for making it a much bigger, much more filled-in show. Now you actually get to know us and our relationships before we start talking about our own lives. This has become a much more complete experience for us and for the audience.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM).