Broad Shoulders Productions combines theatre and film
When you walk into Chicago Dramatists black box theatre you are transported into the home of Ana and Carlo, with a inviting comfy couch that is worn from family memories and a dinner table waiting for everyone to gather around.
As a commercial pilot, Ana spent most holidays in the air, away from her husband, Carlo, a college professor, and four children. Having recently retired, she is excited to finally be home and make up for lost time with her family. Her plans are unsettled when her daughter, Kat, announces a fast-approaching move to Costa Rica. Determined to have one last dinner with the whole clan, Ana reschedules Thanksgiving and insists everyone attend... in March! Ana and Carlo’s adult children reluctantly oblige, but Kat is not the only one whose life has taken a new route.
Unique Approach by Broad Shoulders Productions
What makes Tony Mendoza and Broad Shoulders Productions’ unique and different from the storefront theatre scene is their integration of film. Mendoza’s filmed scenes are set in the kitchen, a bathtub, a bar and at each one of their children’s homes, while the main set is the living room with a dining room table. What this does is brings you closer into each person’s world and allows you to understand them in a multifaceted realistic way that stage plays do not always allow for.
For instance, we see the complexity of getting three adult children to their parent’s house as they talk to each other through various devices, text and phone calls simultaneously happening through video. Onstage Ana, their mother, is getting the house ready. At another scene, the kids are all in the living room watching a movie from their childhood, while the parents are venting about their grown children at a bar in an effort to get a needed break from the kids. As Carlo and Ana are talking about how their children have changed and reflecting on raising them, we see onstage the “adult” children cuddling with one another as if they were kids again.
This devise of combining film and a stage play enriches Tony Mendoza’s heartwarming story, which is one that anyone can relate to. Whether our family is biological or chosen, we can all relate that we need to accept the ones we love for who they are and that we might not always be able to get together around the dinner table but we can stay in touch with technology. However, there is nothing like seeing the face of the person you love, hugging them and even being prepared when the food might not turn out as planned.
Stuffing the Turkey: Stuffing the Turkey featured Ana María Alvarez, Elio Leturia, Nathalie Galde, Abe Elmourabit, Ashley Yates, María Velázquez, Saif Siddiqui, Richard Bronson and Nydia Castillo.
Written and directed by Tony Mendoza, the production combines film and stage to create a dynamic presentation.
Bookmark the Broad Shoulders Productions website to keep track of their upcoming productions.
Photos and video courtesy of Broad Shoulders Productions.