Melinda Lopez's award-winning play Sonia Flew (2004) opens in Houston this Labor Day weekend courtesy of Latinx theatre company, TEATRX. 

A lot of things intersect in Sonia Flew, Melinda Lopez’s 2004 drama that the Boston Globe called “a play for our age.” Race. Religion. Choices. Secrets. Even the question of who we are and what we owe each other. 

At its center is Sonia, a Cuban immigrant to the U.S., raising two children with her Jewish husband. In the aftermath of 9/11, the announcement that her son is joining the military to fight the terrorists responsible for the attack sends Sonia into something of a tailspin.

“We know that Sonia went through something in her life in Cuba,” says Benito Vasquez, co-founder of local theatre company TEATRX and the play’s director. “We just know she is dealing with a lot of trauma and it is affecting the whole family.”

Presented in honor of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Sonia Flew is also TEATRX’s first fully staged production. Launched in 2018 by Vasquez and co-founders Marissa Castillo and Jorge Diaz to share and advance stories of the Latinx community, the group has offered a short play and short film festival, but nothing like this. They are partnering with the Holocaust Museum Houston and MECA @ TBH to bring performances across the city, in addition to its weekend stint at the MATCH.

“We created TEATRX to counter the lack of representation of the Latinx community on stage in Houston,” Vasquez tells Houstonia. “I was frustrated not seeing things that reflected the community I was part of.”

With Sonia Flew, first directed as part of his master’s degree project at Texas Tech, Vasquez not only features a Cuban family, but one that is also Jewish. While the subjects of war and politics are certainly a part of the story, he’s quick to point out it is not a political play.

“It’s a family drama,” he says. “It’s a beautiful story that highlights what these two cultures look like.”

Vasquez is excited for audiences to see the show. The first act centers around a Shabbat meal, where the blended Cuban Jewish family hashes out what it means to be a patriot and what secret Sonia has kept to herself since coming to the country as a young woman. The second act flashes back to her Cuban girlhood and how she left the home she knew to build a new place for herself in a new country.

“What really hit home for me is that the play doesn’t necessarily choose one side or the other,” Vasquez said of the show’s central conflict. “There’s a lot of discussion of what it means to be a patriot, and how that word has come to mean different things.”

Vasquez is sure the show will resonate with Houston audiences. As the U.S. withdraws from its long war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the themes in Sonia Flew should connect strongly. He also feels the show is a reflection of Houston, itself.

“There is such diversity in Houston,” he says. “We have a large Jewish population, a Latinx population. This show really captures that.”

For tickets and more information on the play's tour, visit here

 

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