Skylight Theatre Company has just opened the first show of their 40th season featuring female writers and directors. La Egoista, a West Coast premiere by Erlina Ortiz (a Dominican-American playwright), is artfully directed by Daphnie Sicre.
This small but extremely charming theatre has wonderfully effective stage design capabilities, cleverly enhanced by the skills of Stephen Gifford which allows such authentic storytelling. The free-thinking stand-up comedy scenes, presented with buckets of humor, take place against a backdrop of opposition - the seriousness of life; adversity and hardship which are profoundly explored.
At the beginning we meet Josefina (Lys Perez), a rising stand-up comic in an ordinary comedy club. Her mission is to tell jokes and "slightly offend people while they are laughing." With a captivating smile she expresses her big dream. Since age 17 she's wanted to be in front of all of us expressing dryly, mockingly, and humorously, her observations of life. More specifically, her observations about her mother, sister, and others who have formed her as an adult. Her career becomes a reality by using the truthfulness of experiences in tandem with the playfulness of her comedy.
Through the clever engagement of an audience member, Josefina's younger sister Betsaida (Chanel Castaneda) is introduced in a uniquely comical way. The seriousness of the situation however, because Betsaida becomes ill and is contemplating the probability of surgery, begins to reveal the bond and deep love between the two sisters. Josefina moves through the challenges with humor while sacrificing some of her gigs in order to take care of her sister, bringing some relief into Betsaida's life. These two women, born to the same mother, are as different as night and day. One is deeply religious, worries about everything, but her faith does not allow her to take care of her illness properly. The other jokes pretty much about everything. Adorable puppets, beautifully designed by Christine Papalexis, are an excellent addition to the play, bringing lightness to moments of discomfort.
"Skylight's 40th Anniversary Season started with the vision to 'look at sisterhood, motherhood, womanhood and ultimately the human experience' as an adventure of rebuilding lives," said Producing Artistic Director Gary Grossman. Executive Director Armando Huipe, together with Gary are envisioning that "the artistic integrity of the work of their playwrights and directors this year will serve as the cornerstone of the future for the Skylight theatre."
The play runs at 8:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays, 3:00 pm Sundays, and 7:30 pm Mondays through April 9, 2023. Skylight Theatre Company is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, 213-761-7061. More information online: http://SkylightTix.org