“The Blade of Jealosy,” written by Henry Ong, adapted from Tirso de Molina’s “La Celosa De Si Misma” and directed by Denise Blasor
Based on a classic play of the Spanish Golden Age Plays, “La Celosa De Si Misma” by Tirso de Molinas, this cleverly updated version brings the struggles of self-image, self-doubt and love a full four hundred years from its original form firmly into the present day.
Nothing much has changed over the centuries when it comes to battles of the heart. We are all just as desperate, just as broken and just as driven into the arms of the questionable as well as the well deserving. This energetic, quirky and hilarious play leaves us in no doubt of our tragic and comical similarities.
Set in present-day Los Angeles, our hero, Melchor, has traveled from afar with his faithful companion Ventura to meet for the first time his online romance Magdalena. While taking shelter in a church before his date with her he meets a mysterious veiled woman and falls hopelessly in love, which is a bit awkward when you consider he was minutes away from meeting Magdalena for the first time. For extra comical effect, they had agreed to never see each others face until they actually met…perfection.
Unbeknownst to him the mysterious women is, in fact, his Magdalena. When Melchor keeps his appointment with her, she immediately senses that something is wrong. Melchor has no clue that these two women are one in the same and plans to reject Magdelena in favor of his new love. It’s a classical and highly entertaining mess.
Magdelena’s maid, Quinones, is also deeply involved in the layers of plot and trickery and, of course, she has her own agenda. Madgelena’s brother Jeronimo is smitten himself and pursuing the lovely actress Angela, keen to create the perfect web series for her and win her heart. There is plenty to distract and conflict with everyone in this story, it’s all very playful and magically realistic, which is brilliant.
The energy level is through the roof and creates a play that is a lot of fun to watch with wonderful characters and really excellent performances full of color and drama and life. This is a production in more of a ‘playhouse’ tradition. Characters emotions are high and the story flies along propelled with a fabulously infectious passion and urgency. The audience is involved and included frequently, the 4th wall charmingly broken with abandon. There is also the added bonus of a wonderfully talented musician on stage throughout, Longo Chu, completing the ‘playhouse’ effect and accompanying and uplifting the action and the story beautifully.
“The Blade of Jealousy” is highly entertaining, warmly farcical and brilliantly crafted. Mr Ong is an accomplished playwright and this lovingly recreated play, an homage to a classic, shows us all how firmly connected we all are to our past and how strangely familiar the sixteenth-century writings of a Spanish Baroque Roman Catholic Monk can feel when tweaked and reimagined with respect, integrity and love.
Running from June 24 – August 26, Sundays at 7PM
The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, 91423
Terry Woodberry, Eddie Mui, Natalie Amenula, Cynthia Dane, Carla Valina, Juan Haro, Longo Chu
Producers – Bryan Rassmussen, Stella Ong
Director & Costume Designer – Denise Blasor
Lighting Designer – Derrick McDaniel
Video Designer – Diana Cignoni
Composer/Sound Designer – Longo Chu
Technical Director – Brandon Loeser