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Garry Marshall Theatre starts new season with topical ‘Real Women Have Curves’

Garry Marshall Theatre starts new season with topical ‘Real Women Have Curves’
Estella (Sherry Mandujano), Carmen (Blanca Araceli), Ana (Julianna Stephanie Ojeda), Pancha (Jackie Garcia), and Rosali (Claudia Duran) in “Real Women Have Curves” at the Garry Marshall Theatre. The play runs through Nov. 18. (Courtesy of Chelsea Sutton)

The Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank kicked off its second season under its new name this month with a play that may be timelier now than when it first came out.

Through Nov. 18, the venue, formerly known as the Falcon Theatre, is presenting its production of “Real Women Have Curves,” a comedy-drama written by Josefina López that discusses immigration and sexism.

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The play, based on López’s experiences growing up as an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles, debuted in 1990 and was later adapted into a film of the same name in 2002, when it won several awards, including two at the Sundance Film Festival.

Though Lopez says it has been wonderful to see her work do well as both a play and movie, she said it is unfortunate the topics in her play are still relevant almost 30 years later.

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“There’s been so much more information and news about immigration and being undocumented,” López said.

“The term ‘Dreamer’ didn’t exist when I was writing this play. The country knows more about immigration now and how complicated and complex it is than when I wrote about it. It’s tragic to me that not a lot has improved for Latinos and women since I wrote this play,” she added.

The playwright said things might be getting worse because “those in power are afraid and understand the power of people who are oppressed coming together and being unified.”

However, she said she is optimistic about the future after seeing how immigrants, women and other groups who feel marginalized are standing up and pushing for change.

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“Sometimes it has to get so disgusting for the people who are in the middle of all of it to say, “enough,’” López said.

When it comes to sexism, López said she’s been writing about the topic since she was 18 years old, and has been “waiting for Hollywood and the rest of the world to catch up.”

She said she recognizes that no paycheck of any size can ever erase sexual assault or harassment, and she added that anyone who accepts a payment to be quiet pays for it with their mental health.

With her play coming back to the stage, López hopes those who see “Real Women Have Curves” are inspired to keep fighting for injustices around them.

“It’s been disappointing in the past when we talk about women’s rights, and we often don’t include women of color, women with disabilities and transgender women,” she said.

“If we’re really going to transform the world, we have to include all women. I hope this play transcends class, race and gender. I want them to see that, at the core, we’re all human beings and vulnerable.”

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