Death comes a calling in “The Hall of Final Ruin,” Something Something Theatre Company’s current offering.
La Tules is close to the end, but she’s got a little time to make her chances better for a happy life everlasting.
Something Something premieres this play by Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos and the compelling story about family and redemption is one of the best productions the company has done.
The play centers on the real-life Gertrudis Maria Barceló — La Tules — who ran a gambling hall playing the game of monte in Santa Fe around the time of the Mexican-American war.
She was rich, she was ruthless, and she wielded a great deal of power. In the playwright’s vision, all those traits made her overly proud. And if she doesn’t eat some serious humble pie before she kicks the bucket, she’s likely to suffer in the afterlife. Doña Sebastiana (Guillermo Franciso Raphael Jones) is the one to bring La Tules news of her impending death; it will be her job to drive La Tules to the great beyond.
La Tules has two granddaughters she has adopted — Carmelita (Amália Clarice Mora), a teen who has honed her monte skills and helps La Tules rack in money, and Rallitos (Nathalie Rodriguez), flighty, romantic and, it appears, pregnant.
The house is kept in order by the housekeeper, Pilar (Cisiany Olivar), whose wages are paid through tips she gets each time she passes on a piece of gossip.
La Tules’ redemption is made easier by the appearance of Sister Jane (Angie Garcia), who suspects her son lost all her money to the gambling madam and she aims to get it back. La Tules plans to eat humble pie through her actions with Sister Jane.
Director Alida Gunn has assembled a strong cast.
Roseanne Couston reigns as La Tules, making her fearless and smart. Jones’ Doña Sebastiana is a complete hoot as he flippantly addresses the audience and warns La Tules about the consequences of her prideful ways.
Mora’s Carmelita is smart and determined to not follow in her grandmother’s footprints; Rodriguez’s Rallitos was deliciously petulant and flighty. There was an eloquence in Olivar’s housekeeper, and a sort of insanity in Garcia’s Sister Jane.
Despite a few opening-night glitches, this play was engrossing and fun.
And it underscores how lucky we are that Something Something has such a strong commitment to female playwrights.