Photo By AIDIN MARISCAL
Ingrid Marquez makes her directorial debut with Portrait of 10 Women... and the Ribbon of Hope that Binds Them at Santa Ana's Breath of Fire Theatre.
hen OC actress (and Coast magazine staffer) Ingrid Marquez was approached by her friend Sara Guerrero with the material for Portrait of 10 Women, Marquez leapt at the chance to make her first foray into directing live theater.
"Sara [the artistic director of the Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble] knew how much I was concerned about the Latina community," says Marquez, who attributes her love for storytelling to her Dominican roots. "And when I first read the play, I knew I could make a difference with my art."
Portrait of 10 Women, written by Fanny Garcia and to be performed at Santa Ana's Breath of Fire Theatre, is a mélange of monologues by 10 different Latinas -- nine of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS. The other character is the social worker through whose eyes we see the ill women, who range in age from 16 to 65.
The play displays their sadness, their determination, their laughter, and -- most of all, Marquez emphasizes -- their hope. Marquez is best known to Southern California audiences for her searing portrayal of the matriarch in the Frida Kahlo Theater production of The Women of Juárez.
While she's been acting for years and has produced two films, this is her debut as a stage director. Given her commitment to the Latino community, it's no accident that Portrait of 10 Women is the play she's chosen.
"Latinas are the second-most community to be afflicted by HIV/AIDS after African American women," Marquez says, and the numbers are growing. "Yet doing this play I've found that it's not so much the disease as the shame that goes with it that is so dangerous."
Through Portrait of 10 Women, Marquez and the Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble hope to "educate and inform," as well as entertain, says Marquez. Then, as if to drive home her original point, she reveals that she has added a subtitle to the play: ... and the Ribbon of Hope that Binds Them.
Portrait of 10 Women... and the Ribbon of Hope that Binds Them runs weekends May 9 through June 7 at the Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble, 310 W. 5th St. in Santa Ana. Call (714) 540-1157 or visit www.myspace.com/boft for more information.