When fragile, electrified love lines sever, theres no magic solution to patch things upor is there? Alicia (Flora Diaz), an overeducated Chicago museum curator, confronts this possibility, which lies at the heart of Tanya Sarachos inviting new comedy Enfrascada (colorfully directed by Jerry Ruiz for Clubbed Thumbs Summerworks series). When her fiancée breaks her heart, Alicia goes reluctantly to consult a senora dabbling in brujeria. Soon the former skeptic finds herself engagedin a major witchcraft regimen, burying odd objects in jars and hoping that hoodoo, if nothing else, will bring back her philandering Diego.
By Tanya Saracho
Here Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue
Diaz puts a compassionate spin on the lead characters tightly wound defensiveness, and her gradual transformation into obsession is striking. But the plays richest scenes take place in the shabby parlor rooms and cluttered kitchens of the four successive spiritual-advisor ladieswinningly played by Annie Henk and Christina Pumariegawho diagnose the true sources of Alicias distress (using the wisdom of age as much as supernatural secrets).
Ultimately, Enfrascada delivers a familiar psychological-redemption-with-quirks story, and the drama can often feel like a too-tidy, commercially minded screenplay. The playwright overdraws the best-friend characters of Carolina (Anna Lamadrid) and Yesenia (Jessica Pimentel), and her projected scene titles (OPERATION STINKY DRAWERS) emphasize the obvious. But Saracho always inflects the dialogue with lively urban-American Spanish turns, and when all her elements align the right way, the comedy acquires potent charms of its own.