“En el tiempo de las mariposas” begins the departmental season of theater and dance
The true story of the Mirabal sisters, Dominican freedom fighters, marks the return of in-person performance
By: Clarissa Shirley ’22
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 12:26 AM
The Mirabal sisters (LR): Alejandra Cepeda Bátiz as Patria, Maria Isabel Castillo as Mate, Alaila Florian as Minerva. Photo by Maddi Whiting.
The true story of the Mirabal sisters, political activists who have become freedom fighters in the Dominican Republic’s struggle against oppression, will open the season of performances of the Department of Theater and Dance at Muhlenberg College.
A staged reading of “En el tiempo de las mariposas (In the time of the butterflies)” will mark the return of living theater to Muhlenberg, after an entirely virtual season in spring 2021. Directed by Leticia Robles Moreno, the show runs from September 30 to October 3.
Robles-Moreno recognized the importance of this story in his own life; She says that her family was inspired by the story of the Mirabal sisters during her childhood in Peru.
“To have this wonderful cast of Latin women bringing those voices to life,” Robles-Moreno said. “It gives me hope.”
Alaïla Florian, a senior from Muhlenberg who plays Minerva, one of the sisters, says she feels honored to represent the kind of Latin women she revere in her own life.
“Whenever we see Latin women portrayed, it’s always the same stereotypical outlook: overly sultry, the angry Latina who can barely speak English,” says Florian. “It’s tiring.
“The Mirabal sisters are so stubborn, hopeful, selfless – everything I wanted to be since I learned about them when I was 14, ”she says. “It’s really an honor to being able to portray women I have admired for so long and be part of the journey to keep their work and memory alive.
Written by Caridad Svich and based on Julia Alverez’s novel, “En el tiempo de las mariposas” is a fascinating story of the empowerment of Latino feminists, says Robles-Moreno. The play is about sisters who become revolutionaries and create a circuit of resistance against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, from the 1940s to the 1960s. All performances will include Spanish subtitles.
“The play is about how a woman can realize the power she has,” says Robles-Moreno. “This is a brotherhood that reminds her that she is never alone and that can allow someone to risk everything for the freedom he and his people deserve.”
The play will be interpreted in the form of a staged reading. Robles-Moreno says this choice will help bring the story of the Mirabal sisters to life in a transformative way.
“Staged reading is a theatrical genre that does not require decor or costume,” she says. “It is reduced to performers who simply bring the text to life. It is important that when we return to live theater we recognize that the theater is not about the beautiful and immense details of production; instead, we invite the audience to be in fellowship with the words.
All tickets for “En el tiempo de las mariposas (In the time of the butterflies)” cost $ 5. The performances take place from September 30 to October 3, Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances take place at the Studio Theater at the Trexler Pavilion for Theater & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 West Chew St, Allentown. Masks are compulsory for all spectators.
About the Department of Theater and Dance at Muhlenberg College
Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program as one of the top twelve in the country for eight consecutive years, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists theater and dance programs among the best small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of eight colleges listed in Fiske for theater and dance.
About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective and private four-year residential liberal arts college offering bachelor’s and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to developing creative, compassionate and collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences; selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and workforce-oriented post-baccalaureate certificates and progressive master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pa., About 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, participating in 22 college sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.