Every Love Story Ends in Tears
nytheatre.com review by Reagan Wilson
August 15, 2009
When it comes to theatre, I'm a pretty meat-and-potatoes kind of audience member, I like my drama dramatic and my comedy funny. Nidia Medina's new play, Every Love Story Ends in Tears, is meat-and-potatoes theatre. The title tells you what you're going to get—a love story—and it tells you how it ends (spoiler alert)—"in tears." What it does not tell you is how seamlessly director Nic Grelli navigates the cast through this beautiful tale based on Medina's own grandparents.
It is World War II, Puerto Rico, and Blanca's older sister bides her time working as a seamstress in a effort to stay true to her fiancee who is at war. Of course, fate steps in and puts Derrick Karg's love-struck character in her path. Does love at first sight really exist? Well, in 1940's Puerto Rico it does, especially when one's suitor is persistent—the two fall in love, move to New York, have a baby, and live happily ever after, the end. It all came together just like Duena predicted. Of course if you take the Granddaughter's version of things, Grandma and Grandpa's love story was perfect—sure they had a fight in a restaurant, and they struggled financially when they first arrived to New York, but they had each other and they were made for each other. Yet, as perfect as the relationship may seem it is its lack of imperfection that weakens the play. Medina never shows anything about Grandpa's background, we never see how Grandma's parents react when they learn she's broken off her engagement to marry Grandpa. The couple have a fight, but it's over in seconds, leaving the audience wanting to know if the cause of the argument ever created more problems for the couple. Drinking, jealousy, infidelity, these are the painful parts of a relationship that make us cry, but Medina only discusses them briefly, because the focus of this play is love—the love that Grandma and Grandpa had for one another. If you can remember that this is a love story then you will love this play. You will love the talented performances given by Carolina Ravassa and Michelle Guadalupe. You will love the videography by Jaime Siordia. You'll love the dancing and the original music. You'll love the fact that this play is a simple love story. A love story as seen through the eye of the couple's granddaughter (played by Tatiana Suarez Pico), who may or may not have known about the struggles her grandparents endured to keep their love so strong for 57 years.
If a little Latin music (yes, this play is bilingual), a little food, and a little dancing is your idea of good old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes theater then, "This is it. This is what it sounds like when your heart breaks for good." It sounds like a sweet love song filled with sweet memories. Enjoy this FringeNYC jewel.