ETC brings “La Llorona, Three Tales” to the Stage

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

“La Llorona, Three Tales,” written by Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s Garry Posey is a play based on an urban legend that can be traced back to 1502 about a woman or apparition who is sometimes witnessed near a lake desperately searching for her lost children.    The show will run for two weekends starting June 17th, 2011 at the St. Andrew’s Center.

Allied Arts of Chattanooga writes about, “La Llorona:”

The community is invited to join Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga (ETC) for the remounting of Garry Lee Posey’s “La Llorona: Three Tales” June 17 – June 26; Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Performances will take place in the St. Andrews Center, 1918 Union Avenue.

“Liza Blair, with the Latino Arts Project, approached ETC to develop a theatrical piece highlighting the various Latino cultures. At the time I was working with the St Andrews Center’s After School Arts Academy, which was predominantly Guatemalan children,” explains writer Garry Lee Posey. “In class one afternoon, I told them a story from my life. The goal was to talk about how our personal stories, memories and imagination turn into inspiration for what we do as theatre artists. When I finished, I opened the floor for the students to share stories (these are 3-5 graders) and almost immediately four hands shot straight up and they each told a story about a crying woman.”

“Initially, I couldn’t understand it, but after Liza met with them and had a very similar experience, we did some research and discovered La Llorona. Further research showed that the story of La Llorona is actually an urban legend, of sorts, that exists in almost every Latino culture,” continues Posey. “For this script, I read several versions of the story and found common themes throughout them. Armed with those themes, the different versions of the story, and my imagination, I sat down to write three different tales. One of them deals in fantasy with mermaids, another with religious piety and the third deals with lofty aspirations.”

Admission is free, thanks to a generous donation from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Latino Arts Project. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. Free parking is available behind the St. Andrews Center. ETC’s production of “La Llorona: Three Tales” is directed by Brenda Schwab. Cast members include Jamie Goodnight, Casey Keelen, Rachel Turl and Sonibert Wood. The stage manager is Eric “Red” Wyatt.

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga (ETC) is a nonprofit housed at the St. Andrews Center at 1918 Union Avenue in Historic Highland Park. This is ETC’s third season. For more information about the season, programming and opportunities, visit www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com or call 423-987-5141.

Here’s Lila Downs singing “La Llorona” on you-tube:

I found a poem about the Legend of this crying woman here:

La Llorona – from the Mexican folktale.

Don’t go down to the river, child,
Don’t go there alone;
For the sobbing woman, wet and wild,
Might claim you for her own.

She weeps when the sun is murky red;
She wails when the moon is old;
She cries for her babies, still and dead,
Who drowned in the water cold.

Abandoned by a faithless love,
Filled with fear and hate.
She flung them from a cliff above
And left them to their fate.

Day and night, she heard their screams,
Borne on the current’s crest;
Their tortured faces filled her dreams,
And gave her heart no rest.

Crazed by guilt and dazed by pain,
Weary from loss of sleep,
She leaped in the river, lashed by rain,
And drowned in the waters deep.

She seeks her children day and night,
Wandering, lost, and cold;
She weeps and moans in dark and light,
A tortured, restless soul.

Don’t go down to the river, child,
Don’t go there alone;
For the sobbing woman, wet and wild,
Might claim you for her own.

Listen to the story with playwright Garry Posey:

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