Arts & Theater

‘RADICAL or Are You Gonna Miss Me?’ Review

Considering how the political winds are blowing these days playwright, Isaac Gómez’s new commission for IAMA Theatre Company, ‘RADICAL or Are You Gonna Miss Me?’, hits a nerve.

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

As a story about three women living on the Mexican border, desperate to be seen, ‘RADICAL’ explores the political divide inside a family. Even more profoundly, though, it traverses the nuanced, negative space and intimate trajectory of how trauma, socio-economic injustice, and loneliness put all of these women on a path to extremism. It’s no coincidence.

When Belinda (Elizabeth Ramos) is bailed out of jail by her estranged sister, Rosalie (Anna LaMadrid), she must reconcile the person she was with the person she feels she’s destined to become — that is, with the help of a new friend Erica (Kim Griffin).

What’s interesting about ‘RADICAL’ is the familiarity of the piece. From beginning to end, Gómez’s writing embeds a kind of “Kardashians” intrigue. The commonplace melodrama unique to siblings, although heightened by Belinda’s arrest, seems superficially trite. And yet, you can’t stop watching. You can’t stop “listening”. And you can’t stop “believing.” The off-handed friendship that develops between Belinda and Erica during their graveyard Amazon warehouse shifts is “natural” and “comforting”. There’s so much relatability with these characters. So much give and take; push and pull.

Every step of the way, these women command empathy from the audience. It doesn’t matter how annoying, nonsensical, or cynical at times they are. We can easily sit and hurt with them, stand in their shoes, accept all flaws, agree, and disagree. Which makes the ending of this piece so deeply traumatic. (No spoilers here. See the show!)

These women live a subsection of tininess in a world that seems committed to swallowing them whole – without notice or consequence. Their feelings of disenfranchisement, disconnect, and reactions to each other’s decisions that emerge catch you quite off-guard considering how hard each is working to connect. The whole circumstance, in a word, is genuinely, “radical”. And you can’t help but wonder in the larger world-view of modern radicalism, “Did I pay enough attention?”

Beautiful lighting by Josh Epstein and set design by Nicolas Ponting accompany this production. Actor performances are especially good.


IAMA Theatre Company Presents:
Written by Isaac Gómez
Directed by Jess McCloud
A World Premiere Production

Starring: Elizabeth Ramos, Anna LaMadrid, and Kim Griffin (Understudies: Paula Rebelo, Sol Crespo and Jennifer Knox)

The creative team includes scenic designer Nicholas Ponting; lighting designer Josh Epstein; sound designer John Nobori; costume designer Azucena Dominguez; properties designer Stephen Heckel; intimacy director Rachel Flesher; and casting director Jordan Bass. IAMA ensemble member Celia Mandela Rivera is the associate director; Adam Matthew is the technical director; and Rebecca K. Hsia is the production stage manager. Quinn O’Connor produces and Katharine Means co-produces for IAMA Theatre Company.

Performances: Nov. 16 – Dec. 11

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
• FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.

• General Admission $40
• Previews: $25

(323) 380-8843

Photo by Makela Yepez: Kim Griffin and Elizabeth Ramos

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