Guadalupe in the Guest Room is a beautiful new work that addresses grief while melding the human story with the over-dramatics of telenovelas. The story centers on Steve (Dustin Bronson) and Guadalupe (Stephanie Diaz), who are dealing with the loss of their wife and daughter, respectively. Creatively addressing language barriers and vocabulary in only English, the play draws us to see how the two of them become closer even after the only person that tied them together, Claudia, is gone.
The play is creatively staged in the small round stage of the Ruth. The Creative team, led by director Sara Guerrero, created a kitchen, guest room, living room and master bedroom in an extremely intimate space, and managed complicated light and snow effects. Uldarico Sarmiento and Natalia Avila, as scenic designers, were able to fit everything in without reducing sight lines on most corners of the theatre. The costume design by Celia Kasberg was beautiful in that it easily conveyed the mood and feeling of the characters, while allowing for quick changes into the flamboyant telenovela scenes. This stage is a challenge to light without becoming overbearing, and Mandi Wood did an exceptional job, while Becca Pearce was able to use the sound design to help the audience keep up with the changes. Devon Muko and Michael George managed exceptionally well to keep the pacing where it needed to be. This was a show that could’ve been bogged down with technical requirements, but the creative team needs to be commended on rising to the challenge of both the play and an intimate space.
An additional challenge with staging this piece is that the actors of Raquel (Regina Fernandez) and Roberto (Miguel Nuñez) must switch to play actors in the telenovela. This is fantastic to watch them take the role of both friends to Guadalupe and over the top characters in a soap opera. The technical aspects and design had to assist the audience to quickly catch on to the trick of the play, as well as help us keep up with a tricky transition from a telenovela at the end that is an intimate moment of grief for Steve.
This is a beautiful work, and the entire audience was sobbing and laughing at the end. There are too many beautiful lines and scenes to quote that perfectly capture grief and what it feels like, and the need to move through it, ultimately, alone. It is wonderful to see Creede Rep pick up this new work so it can gain visibility, as I think it is a timely and gorgeous play that holds some fantastic roles for women. I look forward to seeing other productions across the country.
New play exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/plays/194091/guadalupe-guest-room
Director – Sara Guerrero
Scenic Design – Uldarico Sarmiento
Asst. Scenic Design – Natalia Avila
Costume Design – Celia Kasberg
Lighting Design – Mandi Wood
Sound Design – Becca Pearce
Stage Manager – Devon Muko*
Asst. Stage Manager – Michael George
Guadalupe – Stephanie Diaz*
Steve – Dustin Bronson*
Raquel – Regina Fernandez
Roberto – Miguel Nuñez*
Author’s note: The author does her best to give credit to both actors and technical talent, and #tags everyone listed in the program even if not named in the written play response. If you feel anyone contributed to the production that was not named or tagged, or any corrections, please contact the author via the original source.