adapted from her novel
by Cristina García
directed by Gary Graves
Produced in: 2019
in conversation with Cristina García and Patricia Milton
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Cristina García returns to Central Works after the 2018 production of King of Cuba to adapt another one of her lush, sensual novels. The Lady Matador’s Hotel follows the denizens of a luxurious hotel in the capital of an unnamed Central American country in the midst of political turmoil. There is the matadora in town for a bullfight. There is an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel. And there is a colonel who committed atrocities in the country’s long civil war. Each day, the pull of revenge and desire draws them closer and closer together.
“Has the energy of an obsessive tango. Or, indeed, a bullfight.”—NY Times
Production Sponsors: Lisa Esherick and Erica Nietfeld
The Lady Matador’s Hotel was also made possible with the generous support of the Bernard Osher, Fleishhacker & RHE Foundations; the Warrior Artists Fund (Horizon’s Foundation), the Zellerbach Family Fund; and the City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grants program.
Erin Mei-Ling Stuart
Stage management: Callie Garrett
Costume design: Tammy Berlin
Lighting design: Gary Graves
Prop design: Debbie Shelley
Sound design: Gregory Scharpen
Cristina García (playwright) has been developing new plays and stage adaptations of her novels in the Central Works Writers Workshop for the past 3 years. She is playwright-in-residence at the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco. Her first produced play, King of Cuba, was part of Central Works 2018 season. García is the author of seven novels, including: Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, The Lady Matador’s Hotel, King of Cuba, and Here in Berlin. García has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon, and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008 and a young adult novel, Dreams of Significant Girls, in 2011. A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death, was published in 2010. García’s work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, among others. She is the founder and artistic director of Las Dos Brujas Writers’ Workshops and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
When asked is she’s afraid of death, the lady matador Suki Palacios (Erin Mei-Ling Stuart) replies, “Tell me how you die and I’ll tell you how you’ve lived.”
As Suki Palacios prepares for the first Battle of the Lady Matadors in the Americas, she learns a breathtaking truth from a television psychic who advises Suki to devour calabazas morning, noon and night. Here, a bellhop (Gabriel Montoya) arrives bearing the soothsayers prescription!
Television spiritualist, Pajarita (Rudy Guerrero*) can read the future in her crystal ball; and she’s always right!
Suki Palacios (Erin Mei-Ling Stuart) has come to compete in the first Battle of the Lady Matadors in the Americas. In her hotel gym, she engages in a dangerous and sizzling tango with the fascist military leader, Colonel Martin Abel (Steve Ortiz).
Find more photos under the EXTRAS tab
“if political suspicion curdles everywhere in…The Lady Matador’s Hotel, so does desire. The push and pull of those two feelings gives the script, now in a Central Works world premiere, a streak of mystery” -SF Chronicle Datebook Pick
“Graves is clearly in command…we’re four feet from the actor’s who…thrust Garcia’s evocative prose and exhilarating characters into our laps.” -East Bay Express
“Each appearance of Rudy Guerrero’s “Pajarita” stopped the show cold.” -My Cultural Landscape
“I was thoroughly transported by Cristina Garcia’s stage adaptation of her own novel, “The Lady Matador’s Hotel.” It’s all highly theatrical: Garcia’s lyrical writing, the complex and mysterious story and the vibrant characters.” -J. Schiffman of the SF Examiner
“The Lady Matador’s Hotel is a hit for Central Works!” –The Berkeleyside
Learn more about playwright and novelist Cristina García from her website.
Watch an interview with Cristina García: