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Theater review: 'Real Women Have Curves' at Casa 0101

September 22, 2011 |  5:00 pm

Women usually take their clothes off onstage for someone else: a doctor, a lover. But the sisters are doing it for themselves in "Real Women Have Curves," Josefina López’s boisterous celebration of Latina life force, now in revival at the elegant new Casa 0101 Theater space in Boyle Heights. When summer heat forces a roomful of chicks to strip to their underwear, flesh suddenly becomes political: Baby got back, and she’s proud to show it off. 

Set in 1987, the play follows the tribulations and joys of five women working in a small garment factory, sewing cocktail dresses they can neither afford nor fit into. Owner Estela (Miriam Peniche) struggles to manage her mouthy staff, including her mother (Jonée B. Shady), ever-dieting Rosali (Noemi Gonzalez), skeptic Pancha (Martica de Cardenas), and our narrator, budding writer Ana (Margie Gutierrez Lara), in search of an identity and a way out of the barrio.  

The production suffers from uneven casting, and director Corky Dominguez sometimes lets his cast spill over into a sitcom. But there’s an infectious energy on Marco de Leon’s factory floor set as the women spat, gossip and dodge the ever-present La Migra (immigration police). And be sure to stay for the curtain call. If only “Project Runway” had this much attitude.

-- Charlotte Stoudt

“Real Women Have Curves” Casa 0101, 2102 1st Street, Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. Sundays. Spanish language matinee 3 p.m. Oct. 22. Ends Oct. 23. $12-$20. (323) 263-7684, or Running time 2 hours.

Photo: Jonée B. Shady, left, Noemi Gonzalez, Miriam Peniche (standing), Margie Gutierrez Lara, Martica de Cardenas. Credit: Shane Sato