THE WAILING WOMAN/LA LLORONA, Whole Art Theater Company, at the Blue Rider Theatre. Dear Whole Art Theater cast and crew: Just a few words from your director on opening night. Let me first highlight the 500-year-old Mexican myth we’ll be performing. La Llorona falls in love with a conquistador and bears his children. He plans to abandon her and take their children back to Spain. Rather than lose the children she murders them. It is said her weeping can be heard to this day.
Just remember this outline–it’s pretty much all we’ll use. And if you come upon any deeper resonances, ignore them. Remember: we want our play to look important, but we don’t want the bother of having to develop any ideas. Besides, audiences love fervent anti-Columbus rhetoric, no matter how superficial.
Just remember these few simple techniques:
(1) Don’t just wander–wander aimlessly.
(2) Deliver every line as if it were written in italics or capital letters.
(3) Move a little slower than normal and stare off into space. This will give you just the right combination of humorlessness and self-importance.
(4) Stop after each period and count to three before continuing. If the moment is really poignant, count to five. Remember, we’ve only got 20 minutes of material, and we’ve got to fill two hours.
(5) Talk with your hands.
(6) Scream, whisper, or wail incomprehensibly. If you can’t decide among these options, curl up in a ball.
(7) If you’re having trouble reaching an extreme emotion, banalize it. Your lover has forsaken you? Act like you have indigestion. You’re showing off your new baby to friends? Imagine it’s a shiny new toaster. Or an espresso machine, maybe a Krups. You really love it.
(8) If one crazy, screaming woman in a white sheet is good, three are brilliant.
(9) When all else fails, hang from the rope or put fabric over your head.
Break a leg!