Working with Latinas

WENDY
Oye me!

LORI
Ay!

WENDY
Ay! Que fue?!

LORI
Me asustaste!!

WENDY
Aye, I’m sorry. Pues no vas a creer lo que paso!

LORI
Que?!

Exactly.

Dominizuelan in a piñata shop.

This past summer I had the pleasure of directing Dominizuelan (the Latina comedy duo that hails from Miami and has been rocking the Chicago improv scene for the past seven years) in their third incarnation of their show “People in the City.”

Why, you may ask, would two brazen Latinas (Not Brazilian… BRAZEN) want the eye of an Irish/German homosexual male to direct their show? Good question, I did too.

The truth is I’m not just a fan, I’m a friend. I knew these locas way back in the early days of Miami. While working so closely with them throughout our early ’20s, we learned that language has no barrier. When Lori would look at me with a discerning eye and pronounce “Oyeme!” I knew exactly what she meant. To this day I’m still unclear on the actual definition of “Oyeme,” but when a Latina says those words to you… you understand.

I was out brunching (as the gays love to do) with one of my caucasian girlfriends last week who had seen the show and absolutely loved the scene entitled “Bathroom Ladies.” In which, Lori and Wendy, play two Spanish women who are cleaning the bathroom of a nightclub here in Wrigleyville, Chicago. The scene is written completely in Spanish, and my friend asked how it was possible for me to direct two Latinas in a completely Spanish written scene. I turned the question back to her and asked why she loved the only scene written completely in Spanish. She got it! Despite the language we are speaking we know the intentions behind our words.

The New Generation Latino can flip back and forth between two languages like they are playing hopscotch, and it’s time for the white people in the room to take note. Recently, the benefits of being bilingual have been written about in the news.

Dominizuelan have been big fans of the author Junot Diaz for years and thought, “If he could do it, so can we.” I believed, as did they, that our audience was smarter than that. My girlfriend’s enthusiasm proved we were right. It was a celebration of the human experience, and that never gets lost in translation. Night after night, everybody in the room, regardless of their skin color, understood.

Christopher Kauffman is el Cirujano, head of Operations for Pícaro Media, a content production house geared toward creating content for the New Generation Latino across all screens. Ponte listo. Ponte Pícaro.

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