Colin Boyle / Daily Senior Staffer
Communication sophomore Lucia Boyd said she wanted to create a show that was accessible to everyone, not just the theater community.
Through outreach events like a multicultural poetry night, a free salsa class and dialogues on diversity in theater, “Earthquake Chica” has made an effort to bring the themes of the show to Northwestern’s campus.
Lipstick Theatre’s production of “Earthquake Chica” will grace the intimate Shanley Pavilion from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. The show focuses on Esmeralda, a woman desperately attempting to escape from her secretarial job while navigating her Latinx culture, and Sam, a literary lover and accountant who she falls in love with.
When choosing a show to produce, Boyd said she was drawn to “Earthquake Chica” because of its feminist themes — both a passion of hers and a priority of Lipstick Theatre, a group dedicated to tackling women’s issues through performance. The play revolves around Sam and Esmeralda’s relationship, one that Boyd said allows the individuals to maintain independence.
“The show specifically speaks to me because it’s about a heterosexual relationship that’s really healthy, uplifting and empowering for both women and men,” Boyd said. “I think that’s a conversation that’s really important today with everything that’s going on in the world.”
Boyd said ethnicity also is a prevalent force in the show — both the characters come from Latinx backgrounds, but experience that culture in different ways.
The accuracy of these cultural elements were important to the team. Valen-Marie Santos, a Communication sophomore and the show’s dramaturg, researched the details to act as “an advocate for the playwright” and ensure the cast and production team understood these cultural nuances.
Santos said poetry plays an important role in the show, so she made sure to make information about these works accessible to the actors by researching the poets and the meanings behind the texts.
“One of the characters, Sam, is a big fan of Latin American literature,” Santos said. “He wants to use (the poems) as a vehicle to teach Esmeralda Spanish. I think this, for both characters, acts as a way into their background and culture.”
Communication junior Farrah Sklar, the show’s director, said while the Latin culture is an underlying theme of the show, it is not the only one.
Although the show’s protagonist grows throughout the show to “reclaim what that culture and that identity mean to her,” Sklar said both the characters are depicted as regular people who are influenced by the culture they grew up in.
“The important thing about the show is that it does highlight two Latinx characters, but it doesn’t just highlight that,” Sklar said. “This show does a really beautiful job of having these characters be who they are. It’s like a rom-com, but the stars of it get to be Latin characters, just because they can be.”
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