The River Bride, A 'Fairy Tale For Adults,' Opens at ATC This Weekend

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Leandro Cano, Hugo E. Carbajal, Sarita Ocón, Dena Martinez, Paula Rebelo, and Sean Burgos in Arizona Theatre Company’s The River Bride. - TIM FULLER
  • Tim Fuller
  • Leandro Cano, Hugo E. Carbajal, Sarita Ocón, Dena Martinez, Paula Rebelo, and Sean Burgos in Arizona Theatre Company’s The River Bride.

The River Bride
 blends Brazilian folklore, poetic imagery and the excitement of young love to tell a story of two sisters in fishing village along the Amazon. Right before her sister Belmira’s wedding (to a man Helena feels was rightfully hers), fishermen pull a man out of the river who has no past, but who offers both women an enticing, if uncertain future.

The Arizona Theatre Company production of The River Bride, by Marisela Treviño Orta, opens in Tucson this Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The play made its debut at the 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and was the winner of the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award.

Treviño Orta has a background in poetry, and received a master of fine arts degree in writing at the University of San Francisco. After serving as the resident poet at El Teatro Jornalero!, she found herself attracted to playwriting for the first time

“It felt so very welcoming and embracing and supportive in a way that I was like ‘this feels so right,’” she said. “And doors kept opening for me.”

One of her favorite quotes comes from playwright Federico Garcia Lora: “A play is a poem standing up.” She describes The River Bride as her play with the most heightened language, and also one of the most collaborative processes she’s been a part of.

It’s the first in a cycle of three “fairy tales for adults” she’s working on that draw inspiration from Grimm’s fairy tales and Latinx folklore and mythology. This show is heavily influenced by Brazilian folklore, and Treviño Orta said she’s enjoyed watching the play evolve as she’s received feedback from Brazilian actors.

“For me, theater is such an amazing art form because it asks us to employ empathy,” she said. “For me, so much of it is about opening yourself up to the information and the imagery.”

Treviño Orta said she’s been included in the process of the ATC production, and is happy with what she’s seen of the show so far, especially since so many Bay Area actors she’s knows and loves are involved.

The River Bride is showing at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., through Nov. 11. Tickets range from $41 to $63 and are available here.

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