First Comes Love? and then Comes Marriage?

Onstage Playhouse Brings a Deadly Twist to the Social Fairy Tale Stigma in The Drowning Girls
Currently Playing until September 26 at the Chula Vista Venue 

A Blog-View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Being at Onstage Playhouse for the first time and with plays coming back to in-person performances, was a nice treat.

Carla Navarro, Emily Candia and Sandra Ruiz. Photo by Darren Scott

As you come into the dark theatre, there are busts with feminine silhouettes covered in white tulle. There are also pictures of women throughout time. Early 1900s to current times, with a caption that reads "It was the happiest day of their lives". Next is the stage containing three bathtubs with working showerheads placed on different levels.

The image of a bathtub is one that -usually- evokes relaxation, calmness, and bubbles. Onstage Playhouse's bathtubs also evoke a very aesthetic creepiness. 

There is a huge gasp. Bessie (Carla Navarro), emerges from the bathtub followed by Alice (Emily Candia), and Margaret (Sandra Ruiz) wearing tight corsets and 19th-century underwear. They start telling the story while water from the showerheads pours. Wedding dresses and veils are pinned to the wall. They get dressed and we see three brides. 

This piece is based on the British serial killer and bigamist, George Joseph Smith who drowned his three wives in order to cash in on their financial benefits. The Chula Vista adaptation is by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, Daniela Vlaskalic.

A very creative way to expose not only the true facts of the murders but go beyond and challenge social stigmas like the value of a single woman versus the value of one that is married. "Not being alone", "Not dying alone", and the never-ending checklist within society and its imposed standards. Not to mention the famous "That was the happiest day of my life" phrase which is fine, to each their own but, why limit it to just one day being the happiest?

Sandra Ruiz,  Emily Candia andCarla Navarro. Photo by Darren Scott

Seeing Navarro, Candia and Ruiz perform in water and under running water putting clothes and stalkings on while WET with a full set of makeup, is a performance art bonus within the play.

The bathtubs are pandora boxes really, where props and props come out for each bride. James P. Darvas' direction of the hour-long tale is precise, explorative, and challenging. The murders happened between 1912 and 1914, how much have things changed since then for women, their independence, and choices?

The Drowning Girls is theatre for thought, and a perfect way to start off this season.

Tickets are $25 for adults. Senior/Student/Military $22.50. Groups of 10+ Discount  Call 619 422-7787

For more information and purchase click here.

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