By: Jennifer Maldonado Rivera
“A vision of reality and love.” That is how Axel F. Sánchez Steidel, director, writer and actor described his play “Del Otro La’o del Espejo,”presented by the Association of Students of Drama in Education (AEDE, for its acronym inSpanish), on Tuesday March 4, 2014 at the Amphitheater Ramón Figueroa Chapel as part of the activities of the “V Coloquio: ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas sobre sexualidades queer”of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.
“Del Otro La’o del Espejo” comes to the public with a humorous and sentimental character and with a strong critique of society. Based on the stories of four main characters: Karina, Christian, Héctor and Raúl, the performance pretends to share the reality and suffering that most of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender (LGBTT) community lives.
“I want to bring a message of understanding and union to the LGBTTQ community, express Axel when he was asked about the purpose of his performance “Most often we hear people negative comments about them, criticism, bullying and rejection, when you really have never taken your time to understand the story behind every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual around them. The play is titled “Del Otro La’o del Espejo,”because transport audiences looking through the mirror behind which we hide much, projecting only a reflection that is accepted by society. It is a work to raise awareness in viewers and that when they return to meet a member of the community, take the time to listen and put aside marginalization,” said Sánchez Steidel in reference to the purpose of his play.
The performance began with the song“Que nadie vea,” by Guatemalan artist Ricardo Arjona which talks about homosexuality. It was interpreted by the student Jensel Rivera.
Then, the audience heard the story of Karina (played by Lizmarily Rodríguez) and Laura (played by Leira Sánchez), a lesbian couple who plans to have a child with the help of Laura’s friend but lover and enemy of Karina, Paco (played José Santos).
Then, the audience was introduced to the story about Cristian (played byRicardo Rivera) and his boyfriend Ismael (played by Abdiel Martínez), who always tries to hide his sexual orientation and his relationship because of what society could say.
The third story showed the struggles of Héctor (played Axel Sánchez), a transsexual young boy that hides his true identity to his male chauvinist and abusive father (…Wilfredo Guilloty) and his mother Gloria (…Daydelisse Rodríguez).
Finally, in the fourth story appeared Raúl (…Jensel Rivera), a young member of the church who is judged by the pastor of the congregation (Ashley Justiniano) for his sexual preferences. Surprisingly, all stories remain unfinished; letting the imagination of the viewer decide the possible ending of the stories of Karina, Cristian, Héctor, and Raúl.
The performance was as part of the V Colloquium, which is an initiative of students and professor of the UPRM-RUM to promote equality, acceptance and love for the LGBTT community through a variety of activities.