Directed by Rachel Dixon, Esteban Marmolejo-Suarez, & Kerry McGee
Gabby Wolfe as Esperanza, Mamá
Fabiolla da Silva as Ofelia
Sara Hernandez as Ramón, Lupe, Marta
Luz Nicolas as Doña Elena
Cristina Sanchez as Maite, Tía
Victor Salinas as Hernan
& Manuela Osorio on violin
Intimacy & Fight Direction
Mark Williams Hoelscher
Box Office Manager & Literary Director
La Llorona is performed at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, on the ancestral land of the Piscataway and Anacostan people.
A Note from the Playwright
La Llorona started off as just a daydream, or really, a day nightmare. As a company member of We Happy Few, I was trying to think of "classic," or "classical" stories that came from underrepresented communities that we could produce as part of the Expanding the Canon initiative. Then she came, La Llorona. I had been reading Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and a section of the book analyzed the myth of La Llorona. From that point on, she haunted me, demanding her story to be told. During lockdown I began to free write, brain-storm, and put together an origin story of the weeping woman in white.
The power of La Llorona comes from women, her story has been passed down in oral tradition, mostly in the form of warnings from abuelas, tias, mamás: Behave, don't play down by the river at night, come home before dark, or La Llorona will take you. I believe she has her place in the canon of horror. She's been haunting us as long as Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolf Man...maybe even longer. I'm excited to share this story with people who have never heard it before, I'm excited for audiences who know her, to feel seen. Thank you for coming, for listening, and for giving a new playwright an audience.
- Gabby Wolfe
A Note from the Dramaturg
In the 1500s Hernan Cortes went to Mexico from Cuba and through the help of La Malinche, a woman crucial to his success in defeating the Aztec Empire. This same woman had a similar situation to the one in our debut play, but weaves its own story revolving around who Latine people know as La Llorona.
Nothing screams Halloween more than a ghost story. Tonight, join We Happy Few as we present a new play that dives into not only the supernatural, but themes of colonization, love, betrayal, and family. La Llorona, is a well known ghostly figure throughout several different Latin countries that’s been passed down orally and in script for several generations.
She was once the inspiration behind a popular horror maze at Universal in Orlando Florida and managed to break into American media with the 2019 film The Curse of la Llorona. However, why is it that female ghost stories never become a staple in pop culture like Freddy Krueger or the Boogie man? More importantly, how can we begin to appreciate and represent other stories like La Llorona? We thank you for joining us in this brand new telling of her story and hope she becomes a ghost story for you to continue sharing with family and friends.
- Alex Berrios
A Note from the Directors
We would like to welcome you to the premiere of La Llorona by Gabby Wolfe. Our production connects to the We Happy Few vision in the purest way possible, through exploring and redefining what it means to tell a classic story. Many famous legends come from an oral tradition of storytelling, and a significant amount of these stories were created in order to teach children morals and life lessons. Pero, “¿Las leyendas tienen algo de verdad, no?”
La Llorona may be one of the most well known oral stories ever told; the legend of the Wailing Woman exists in many cultures and traditions all across Latin America. In an effort to emphasize the commonalities of this tale, our story is not set in any specific place or time. We embraced the tradition of weaving and sewing that is also seen throughout Latin America to further emphasize the commonalities of the women across this region. We see this fabric draped on our set, in the occupation of Esperanza and her sister, and in the scarves and shawls that the ensemble characters wear and use as imaginative props. Not only does the fabric add a particularly feminine touch of gothic horror set dressing, the shawls highlight the daily lives of these women and provide them with work, weapons, dance partners, shrouds, and at times, anonymity.
Our use of a modified thrust stage was made in order to bring the audience into a closer and more intimate place, and to heighten the sense of suspense. Similarly to how oral legends change as they are passed down and how we each approach a story with our own perspectives and personal history, each audience member has the chance to view the story differently and, depending on your seat, different interpretations may arise.
We have the privilege of working with actors from a variety of Hispanic and Latiné backgrounds and, as a team, we encouraged the cast to utilize their natural dialects. This character diversity, paired with the style of magical realism, emphasizes our theme: Legends come from a variety of origins, but the lessons they teach are the same.
- Esteban, Rachel, & Kerry
ALEX BERRIOS (Dramaturg) she/her/ella
Alex Berrios is a recent graduate of GMU where she received a B.A. in Theater and a B.A. in Foreign Languages (Korean). Besides La Llorona, she has been dramaturg for George Mason’s productions of Our Country’s Good, The Women of Lockerbie, and Everybody. She enjoys playwriting, and has had staged readings and performances of three of her plays at George Mason University, Federal University of Santa Catarina, and the University of Toronto. Alex has also played Penelope in Chimichangas and Zoloft, and Marisela in Just Like Us - both at George Mason University. She hopes to continue to promote Latine stories to the community and is thankful to have been part of such a talented, dedicated company.
JASON AUFDEM-BRINKE (Lighting Designer) he/him/él
We Happy Few Company Member and Resident Lighting Designer. Select WHF designs include: Desdemona, Lovers Vows, Macbeth, Winters Tale, The Tempest, Hamlet. Recent designs elsewhere Twelfth Night (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company), recalibrating (Georgetown University Dance Club), Masters of the Fighterverse (Flying V), Elvis’ Birthday Fightclub (Astro Pop Events)
RACHEL DIXON (Director) she/her/ella
Rachel Dixon is the Managing Director for WHF. Her previous credits with the company include Desdemona: A Play About A Handkerchief (stage manager), and Loveday Brooke in the Murder at Troyte's Hill (newspaper writer). She is a recent graduate from George Mason University, where she received a BFA in Theater Performance and a minor in psychology. In the past, she has been a teaching artist with Arena Stage's Voices of Now program, and is thrilled to continue her artistic journey with We Happy Few as their managing director. Credits include: Good Dogs (Class Act Players Theater Company), Twelfth Night and Machinal (Mason Players). She also served on the student leadership board and as a member of the Mason Improv Association.
MATTY GRIFFITHS (Technical Director) he/him/él
Matty Griffiths is a freelance actor, director, scenic carpenter. He has served as Associate Artistic Director and Managing Director, of Actor’s Theater of Washington, as well as Executive Director/Founder of City Artistic Partnerships earlier in his career. Matty is currently a proud company member of Open Road and The Alliance for New Music-Theatre. He will next be appearing on stage as Clov, in Washington Stage Guild’s Feb 2023 production, of Samual Beckett’s, Endgame.
MEGAN HOLDEN (Set Designer) she/her/ella
Megan is a local scenic designer and scenic painter. Megan received her BA in scenic design and film production from James Madison University. Since moving to DC in 2019, Megan has worked as a scenic designer and painter at companies across the DMV including Studio Theater, Washington Stage Guild, Avant Bard Theater, Nextstop, The Free Theater, Anacostia Playhouse, Gala Hispanic Theater, and, of course, We Happy Few Productions!
ESTEBAN MARMOLEJO-SUAREZ (Director) he/him/él
is a senior at George Mason University studying for his BFA in Theater. During his time at George Mason, he has had the privilege of directing Just Like Us, Chimichangas and Zoloft, Sacrifices, and Personification: A 10 Minute Musical.
Esteban can also be seen performing as a member of the Mason Improv Association. He would like to thank We Happy Few for this amazing opportunity to make his professional debut. Working with this team to bring this vibrant script to life has been a great honor.
KERRY MCGEE (Director) she/her/ella
Kerry is the Artistic Director and Marketing Director for WHF. Kerry has directed Desdemona: A Play About A Handkerchief, Lovers' Vows, Treasure Island, Hamlet Project: A Rock 'n' Roll Mixtape, Henry V and Chalk for WHF and acted in The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, Pericles, Dracula, A Midnight Dreary, and The Winter's Tale. Additionally, Kerry has directed and adapted the Loveday Brooke series for WHF, and has designed the packages for the Sherlock and Poe audio experiences. Other DC credits: Visions of Love (Pointless Theatre), Peepshow; Beertown; Toast (dog & pony dc), and Love's LaBeers Lost (LiveArtDC). Kerry worked in Richmond for many years, where she received awards for her work on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Kerry received her MFA in Theatre from VCU.
FABIOLLA DA SILVA (Ofelia) she/her/ella
Fabiolla Da Silva is thrilled to be back with We Happy Few after last year’s reading workshop of La Llorona! Recent DC Credits: Adventure Theatre MTC: Fantastagirl and the Math Monster,The Kennedy Center: Girl Power!, Prologue Theatre: The Revolutionists, World Builders, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: Measure for Measure, Folger Theatre: Love’s Labor’s Lost, Convergence Theatre: Guerrilla Theatre Works: A New Nation, This is All Just Temporary, Film: That Engagement Thing, The Importance of Finding the Other, Autumn’s Room.
SARA HERNANDEZ (Ramón, Lupe, Marta) she/her/ella
Sara Hernández is a Salvadoran-American actor, stand-up comic, and musician (known as Ixchel) native to the DC metro area. Between her three artistic mediums she has performed for Busboys and Poets, Comedy Loft, Rhizome, Woolly Mammoth, Restoration Stage, The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Imagination Stage, 4615 Theatre, The Kennedy Center and more. A recent Conservatory alum of Studio Acting Conservatory, she’s excited to explore acting with We Happy Few and throughout the DC theatre community at large.
LUZ NICOLAS (Doña Elena) she/her/ella
Luz Nicolás is a GALA company member who has appeared in La casa de la laguna, Doña Rosita la soltera, La tía Julia y el escribidor, El perro del hortelano, Exquisita Agonía, El viejo, el joven y el mar, Como agua para chocolate, La foto, Don Juan Tenorio, Cervantes – El último Quijote (2017 Helen Hayes Award nomination, Outstanding Ensemble in a Play), Yerma (2016 Helen Hayes Award nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actress), Señorita y Madame: The Secret War of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, Mariela en el desierto, Los empeños de una casa, Cancún, La señorita de Tacna and Cabaret Barroco. Other credits include Alice in Costa Rica; Exquisita Agonía (2018 HOLA Award for Best Actress, Repertorio Español - NY, Miami Dade County Auditorium); An Invisibile Piece of this World (IATI Theatre, NY); Iberian Mystics: The Confluence of Faiths, part of the Iberian Suite: Global arts remix festival (Kennedy Center); The Vip (Single Carrot Theatre, Baltimore); Última partida (The Final Draw), a jazz and words performance; Grease; Hello Dolly; The Merchant of Venice; Los intereses creados; La casa de Bernarda Alba; Doña Rosita la soltera; and a multi-disciplinary piece with jazz and texts by Federico García Lorca at the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. and that toured. She worked in her native Spain for 20 years in musical and classical theater, television, and film.
MANUELA OSORIO (Music) she/her/ella
Manuela Osorio, based in Silver Spring MD, is a composer, arranger, sound producer, and performer specializing on the violin and acoustic instruments. Still discovering her sound as an artist and working on her second show with We Happy Few (Desdemona: A Play About A Handkerchief), she writes based off of the energy that's being built in the scenes. Using the ballad of La Llorona as inspiration (made famous by Chavela Vargas), she weaves through the scenes taking a romantic-era approach and technique to it. Her music takes you on a sound narrative that eventually ties back to its original source material. Another piece featured is the violin interlude of El Rey de La Huasteca by Mariachi Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez, a piece inspired by huasteca music and dance from Hidalgo, Mexico.
CRISTINA SANCHEZ (Maite, Tía) she/her/ella
Cristina Sanchez is a DC-based actor, excited to be joining this talented ensemble and to be making her debut with We Happy Few! After studying theatre in Madrid, Cristina moved to Canada to attend Vancouver Film School. Back in her hometown, Cristina works both on camera and onstage. Local credits include: Comedy of Errors (Endangered Species Theatre Project) Bits N' Pieces (Saturday Ghosts), Dream of Azul: Remember Me (Teatro La Bolsa), New Plays/New Voices (Best Medicine Rep) and 14 (Theatre Prometheus).
VICTOR SALINAS (Hernan) he/him/él
Victor is a Mexican-American actor and playwright. As an actor in Mexico City he has been part of several soap operas and productions. In Chicago he continued as a member of Aguijon's Theater ensemble for more than six years where he took part in plays such as Romeo & Juliet, Exquisite Agony and Epopeya, among others. His opera prima LOVEknots, premiered in 2012 in Mexico City remaining on stage for more than three years. It was also presented with resounding success in Madrid, Colombia and Chicago. La Pájara de San Juan, his most recent work, opened the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival 2022. Victor is very excited and thankful to make his debut with We Happy Few!
SABRINA SIMMONS (Costume Designer) she/her/ella
Currently pursuing a BA in Theatre at James Madison University and will graduate in May of ‘23.
Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Sabrina has had opportunities to work and design in multiple areas of the theatre finding a strong passion for Costume Design while studying and working at James Madison University. Sabrina’s main passion is creating with accessibility and comfortability in mind. She embraces the challenge of designing any style but particularly enjoys period pieces. She believes that a job well done is not just a stand alone design but a marriage between script, character research and collaboration to ensure that the designs serve the work and those who wear them.
GABBY WOLFE (Esperanza) she/her/ella
Gabby is an actor, teaching artist, and box office wizard in Washington D.C. She has performed in Desdemona: A Play About A Handkerchief, Lovers' Vows, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Loveday Brooke series (WHF). Other DC credits include: The Hub Theatre-The Burn*, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company- Romeo and Juliet, Adventure Theatre MTC-Tinkerbell (understudy), Nextstop Theatre- HIM (reading), Nu Sass Productions-T4TQ (10 Min Play Festival), Keegan Theatre-Womxn on Fire Theatre Festival (performer). Prior to working in DC, Gabby toured with VA Rep on Tour (Theatre IV), based out of Richmond, VA. She holds a B.A in Theatre from James Madison University. When not performing, she can be found with a cup of coffee, a good book, and hopefully some fresh baked goods.
We Happy Few is:
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Gala Hispanic Theatre
The Mexican Cultural Institute
James Madison University
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