The Abuelas

Critics

LemonMeter

74 %

Reviews: 17

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

A surprise visit from two strangers exposes a devastating secret in Stephanie Alison Walker’s visceral look at the repercussions of Argentina’s so-called “Dirty War.” Developed in the Antaeus Playwright’s Lab, this exciting new play explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness — even in the face of the harshest betrayal. Oct. 3-Nov. 25; $15-$35; Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205; (818) 506-1983 or www.antaeus.org.

Reviews

Avatar

Quarleri and Blasor find hidden resources that bring the daughter/mother tensions to a hot boil, and DeSantos and Dever also find subtleties in their men’s reactions to the difficult news.

It’s a glorious evening of explored emotions, not to be missed or ignored.

sweet - Dale Reynolds - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

Too often plays about married couples emphasize the brokenness without also considering the work real couples do to stay together. Walker, Quarleri and Dever, and director Andi Chapman capture the real fire of love – both long-term and fleeting – within this production, reason alone to watch.

sweet - Melanie Hooks - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Avatar

Beyond the clear ability of Stephanie Alison Walker to expose such a storyline without so much as blinking, the play is bolstered by nuanced performances by the entire cast...

From the quality of the writing to the talented dedication of the ensemble, the play manages to tell a storyline that needs to be heard today in America.

sweet - John Lavitt - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The story of the children of the disappeared is a fascinating one I have never seen dramatized onstage, and the play shines brightest when it focuses on that rather than getting swept up into trivial interpersonal drama that is of little consequence. Ultimately, it is exciting to see Antaeus using their always top-tier stable of actors and designers to present new works.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

“The Abuelas” is the first Antaeus production developed in-house, in its Playwrights Lab — a departure from the company’s specialty, classics. They’ve done it a lot of credit, with a strong cast, lavish design and sophisticated staging. The script still feels a few drafts away from finding its story, the right balance between fact and fiction, but it totally sticks the landing. Try not to cry.

sweet - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Having been drawn into The Madres’ world of terror on the streets of Buenos Aires, my expectations for The Abuelas were high. Sad to say, they were not met.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

The search for lost children figures at the heart of The Abuelas, a new play by Stephanie Alison Walker about Argentina’s “dirty war” at Anteaus Theatre. Such an example is Gabriella (Luisina Quarleri), a brilliant musician whose Argentine mother, Soledad (Denise Blasor), comes to town. Gabriella’s life positively unravels when a new friend, César (David DeSantos) brings to dinner an uninvited guest, and we learn that the guest, Carolina (Irene De Bari), is Gabriella’s real grandmother. This complex play might have become lugubrious but for director Andi Chapman and Anteaus’ producing team.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Stephanie Alison Walker’s script is an absorbing, beautifully constructed piece of work, sure to produce a few tears as it celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in an existence which, no matter how idyllic, might one day be subject to drastic and unexpected adjustments. What The Abuelas—and the organization that inspired it—makes us realize is that, as a species, we can survive just about anything with which we’re faced, especially with the love and understanding of those around us since we are all in this mess together.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

The couple’s marital issues are a distraction that takes the audience back from the edge of their seats. The Abuelas shines when its focus is on the complex relationships between the women.

sweet-sour - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

Director Andi Chapman does a yeoman’s job of teasing out every emotion in this taut drama of a possible stolen identity. To add to the tension, the actors really get their teeth into this incendiary story and breathe life into their characters as they handle the unexpected and unpredictable, events which turn their lives upside-down. The audience should not be surprised if they find themselves pulled right into that living room as the tale unfolds...

In all, THE ABUELAS is intense, riveting, thought-provoking, and ultimately satisfying. At the same time, it is eminently entertaining.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

The drama’s most gripping scene comes in its final moments, which spotlight Carolina Montenegro’s all too brief appearance as a ghost from the past, come to help Gabriela heal her fractured spirit. The intensity and truth in this sequence are a marked contrast to the pseudo-theatrics prior, too often underscored by designer Jeff Gardner’s sweeping sound.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

As to the writing itself, Walker’s story unfolds in the generally accepted mode of the traditional “well-made” play. Some possibilities have gone relatively unexplored; for example, as powerfully as Gabriela’s own birth is depicted, we learn next to nothing about her own child Luca’s birth, which took place only months before and could well be still a fresh reservoir of memory, image, pain, and feeling. From the newly uncovered grandmother, we also learn far too little about Gabriela’s birth parents. We see photos that uncannily mirror Gabriela’s face. But were they activists? Married? We do find out the father Agustín was a musician, but surely a distinguished cellist would want to know a little more about that—what instrument? Classically trained, an amateur, a songwriter, a public performer?

sweet-sour - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Andi Chapman seems intent on avoiding the whole thing collapsing into soap opera, but in doing so, the drama itself feels inert. We are left applauding the reunion of granddaughter and grandmother with little sense of what it will mean for either of them. It’s like the whole play has been backstory for a far more complex tale of what will come next.

sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Adam R. Macias's perfect projections enhance and strong performances by the cast, reveal a story that sends Gabriela's life in an unexpected direction. It mostly plays well. DeSanto's bombastic volume and over the top performance seems either totally out of place or the rest of the cast was reluctant to broadcast what seems to show in the script as more subtle exposition is on director Andi Chapman... Recommended.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Under the direction of Andi Chapman, the two-act play is intense and affecting, delivered by a cast at the top of their craft. Sometimes the pace lags, but that is a small quibble in an otherwise sterling performance...

The production is fortunate to have an A+ bunch of theatre geniuses...

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Andi Chapman keeps things moving briskly so we hardly notice that there is a lot more revelation than action. What could be a dry piece of political theatre is lifted by inventive staging and the authenticity of the performances.

The cast is uniformly excellent, the women rightly taking center-stage as stoic support is given by the men. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Guy Picot - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

A well-acted ensemble gives THE ABUELAS its relatable humanity. Stephanie Alison Walker has written a unflinching look at realistic, flawed relationships under the most atypical circumstances. THE ABUELAS (THE GRANDMOTHERS) - a follow-up of Walker's THE MADRES (THE MOTHERS) also deals with the Dirty War in Argentina in the mid-1970s.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

Quarleri and Blasor find hidden resources that bring the daughter/mother tensions to a hot boil, and DeSantos and Dever also find subtleties in their men’s reactions to the difficult news.

It’s a glorious evening of explored emotions, not to be missed or ignored.

sweet - Dale Reynolds - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

Too often plays about married couples emphasize the brokenness without also considering the work real couples do to stay together. Walker, Quarleri and Dever, and director Andi Chapman capture the real fire of love – both long-term and fleeting – within this production, reason alone to watch.

sweet - Melanie Hooks - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Avatar

Beyond the clear ability of Stephanie Alison Walker to expose such a storyline without so much as blinking, the play is bolstered by nuanced performances by the entire cast...

From the quality of the writing to the talented dedication of the ensemble, the play manages to tell a storyline that needs to be heard today in America.

sweet - John Lavitt - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The story of the children of the disappeared is a fascinating one I have never seen dramatized onstage, and the play shines brightest when it focuses on that rather than getting swept up into trivial interpersonal drama that is of little consequence. Ultimately, it is exciting to see Antaeus using their always top-tier stable of actors and designers to present new works.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

“The Abuelas” is the first Antaeus production developed in-house, in its Playwrights Lab — a departure from the company’s specialty, classics. They’ve done it a lot of credit, with a strong cast, lavish design and sophisticated staging. The script still feels a few drafts away from finding its story, the right balance between fact and fiction, but it totally sticks the landing. Try not to cry.

sweet - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Having been drawn into The Madres’ world of terror on the streets of Buenos Aires, my expectations for The Abuelas were high. Sad to say, they were not met.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

The search for lost children figures at the heart of The Abuelas, a new play by Stephanie Alison Walker about Argentina’s “dirty war” at Anteaus Theatre. Such an example is Gabriella (Luisina Quarleri), a brilliant musician whose Argentine mother, Soledad (Denise Blasor), comes to town. Gabriella’s life positively unravels when a new friend, César (David DeSantos) brings to dinner an uninvited guest, and we learn that the guest, Carolina (Irene De Bari), is Gabriella’s real grandmother. This complex play might have become lugubrious but for director Andi Chapman and Anteaus’ producing team.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Stephanie Alison Walker’s script is an absorbing, beautifully constructed piece of work, sure to produce a few tears as it celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in an existence which, no matter how idyllic, might one day be subject to drastic and unexpected adjustments. What The Abuelas—and the organization that inspired it—makes us realize is that, as a species, we can survive just about anything with which we’re faced, especially with the love and understanding of those around us since we are all in this mess together.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

The couple’s marital issues are a distraction that takes the audience back from the edge of their seats. The Abuelas shines when its focus is on the complex relationships between the women.

sweet-sour - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

Director Andi Chapman does a yeoman’s job of teasing out every emotion in this taut drama of a possible stolen identity. To add to the tension, the actors really get their teeth into this incendiary story and breathe life into their characters as they handle the unexpected and unpredictable, events which turn their lives upside-down. The audience should not be surprised if they find themselves pulled right into that living room as the tale unfolds...

In all, THE ABUELAS is intense, riveting, thought-provoking, and ultimately satisfying. At the same time, it is eminently entertaining.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

The drama’s most gripping scene comes in its final moments, which spotlight Carolina Montenegro’s all too brief appearance as a ghost from the past, come to help Gabriela heal her fractured spirit. The intensity and truth in this sequence are a marked contrast to the pseudo-theatrics prior, too often underscored by designer Jeff Gardner’s sweeping sound.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

As to the writing itself, Walker’s story unfolds in the generally accepted mode of the traditional “well-made” play. Some possibilities have gone relatively unexplored; for example, as powerfully as Gabriela’s own birth is depicted, we learn next to nothing about her own child Luca’s birth, which took place only months before and could well be still a fresh reservoir of memory, image, pain, and feeling. From the newly uncovered grandmother, we also learn far too little about Gabriela’s birth parents. We see photos that uncannily mirror Gabriela’s face. But were they activists? Married? We do find out the father Agustín was a musician, but surely a distinguished cellist would want to know a little more about that—what instrument? Classically trained, an amateur, a songwriter, a public performer?

sweet-sour - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Andi Chapman seems intent on avoiding the whole thing collapsing into soap opera, but in doing so, the drama itself feels inert. We are left applauding the reunion of granddaughter and grandmother with little sense of what it will mean for either of them. It’s like the whole play has been backstory for a far more complex tale of what will come next.

sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Adam R. Macias's perfect projections enhance and strong performances by the cast, reveal a story that sends Gabriela's life in an unexpected direction. It mostly plays well. DeSanto's bombastic volume and over the top performance seems either totally out of place or the rest of the cast was reluctant to broadcast what seems to show in the script as more subtle exposition is on director Andi Chapman... Recommended.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Under the direction of Andi Chapman, the two-act play is intense and affecting, delivered by a cast at the top of their craft. Sometimes the pace lags, but that is a small quibble in an otherwise sterling performance...

The production is fortunate to have an A+ bunch of theatre geniuses...

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Andi Chapman keeps things moving briskly so we hardly notice that there is a lot more revelation than action. What could be a dry piece of political theatre is lifted by inventive staging and the authenticity of the performances.

The cast is uniformly excellent, the women rightly taking center-stage as stoic support is given by the men. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Guy Picot - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

A well-acted ensemble gives THE ABUELAS its relatable humanity. Stephanie Alison Walker has written a unflinching look at realistic, flawed relationships under the most atypical circumstances. THE ABUELAS (THE GRANDMOTHERS) - a follow-up of Walker's THE MADRES (THE MOTHERS) also deals with the Dirty War in Argentina in the mid-1970s.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review