Next weekend, Melinda Lopez’s new one-woman show Mala is opening at ArtsEmerson, and here in the student engagement office, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to talk to our classmates about it. After all, a story about losing parents, growing older, and figuring out all the complexities of middle age may not exactly sound like a stressed-out college student’s idea of a good time. As much as we go to the theatre to empathize with other people’s stories, sometimes we just don’t have the mental room to engage with something so emotionally heavy—especially in the middle of the craziness that is October at Emerson.
Even with our busy schedules, most of the student employees here at ArtsEmerson have gotten the opportunity to spend some time with Mala, both on the page and in the rehearsal room. Despite what may on first glance seem like a heavy-lift emotionally, we are actually beginning to feel like Mala might be the perfect antidote to this crazy month. Melinda’s intimate storytelling style, which brings humor and lightness to the emotional turmoil of losing a parent, gives us the feeling of being in a really warm, comforting laughcry. It’s a release-valve for some of the stress that’s been building in our lives, and it’s a beautiful example of a night at the theatre that leaves you feeling reconnected with your fellow audience members. Here is what some of us have to say about it:
“Mala was captivating, emotional, and thought provoking. Being a young student I couldn’t personally identify with any of the struggles faced within the play but the performance was so drenched in emotion that I felt I was going through it as well. Melinda Lopez gets so personal on the stage that it sounds like a friend recounting her struggles to you.” – Katelyn Guerin
“I’m excited for Mala because I can hear my grandmother in the Spanish and myself in the frustration you feel watching a loved one pass away and not being able to do anything about it.” – Andrew Sianez-de la O
“Mala is powerful and entertaining. It makes you take a step back and look at your life and relationships, but it’s also funny, charming and engrossing. ” – Allyson Laredo
After seeing Mala for the first time I found myself deeply moved by observing the sheer humanity that Melinda provides in her words and performance. She deconstructs the societal conversations around death and dying, with a biting sense of humor and welcoming perseverance.” – Katherine Klein
Mala opens October 27th in the Jackie Libergott Black Box, and runs through November 20th. As always, student rush tickets will be available two hours before every performance. We can’t wait to see you there.