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Cuban Smmer


Submitted By jemah65a
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The Cuban Summer
Milcha Sanchez-Scott

Najemah Smith
Milcha Sanchez-Scott was born in 1955 in Bali, the daughter of a Colombian father who was an agronomist and a mother with Chinese, Indonesian, and Dutch ancestry. As a young girl Milcha Sanchez-Scott was sent to a convent boarding school near London, where she learned English. In 1969 her family moved to California, where Sanchez-Scott attended high school and the University of San Diego, majoring in philosophy. A series of jobs followed, including one at an employment agency in Los Angeles where she met recent immigrants who told her their stories. Sanchez-Scott became so interested in their experiences that she began taking notes. Shortly afterward she found a job as an actress in an L.A. Theatre Works' project at the women's prison in Chino. There she worked with the writer Doris Baizley and was persuaded to use her notes as material for a play. This resulted in Sanchez-Scott's first play, Latina, which was commissioned by Susan Loewenberg of L.A. Theatre Works and premiered in 1980.
Dog Lady and The Cuban Swimmer were first produced in 1984. They were so successful—The Cuban Swimmer won a Le Compte de Nouy Foundation Award—that Sanchez-Scott went to New York to participate in the theater workshop of playwright Irene Fornés. There Sanchez-Scott developed Roosters (1988). Currently she lives in Southern California. Her more recent plays include Evening Star, City of Angels, and The Architect Piece.

“The Cuban Swimmer” by Milcha Sanchez-Scott was possibly the worst play I have ever read. The purposeless plot lacks a definite climax, the stage effects would cost more than the dialogue is worth, and the main character seems to consist of an entire family fitting the Cuban-American stereotype. I would neither direct nor take any part in a live performance of this play. The climax has everything to do with the main character, but this story seems to revolve around each of the family members in turn. They each have their own climax, their own personal and emotional breakdown. This suggests to me that the entire family is the main character, that they are the focus of the play. Believing this to be true, I would place the climax at scene 7, when Margarita has gone missing and the remaining family members reach an anxious peak. The resolution thereafter is swift, as it is quickly discovered that Margarita has won the race, and is not lost after all. Though I have been told that Margarita’s reappearance is a “miracle”, I no more believe this than I believe in the power of prayer.

The play was a good play overall. The play was based on the family as a whole on their insight about her swimming and winning the race. The mother (Aida) believes she can do it but she does not want the father to be too hard on her. The Grandmother (Abuela) always has faith so she prayed that Margarita would win the race. The brother (Simon) was laid back and half of the time did what he was supposed to do but he was not trying to loss his sister over a race so he was really not trying to push her and always had a reaction to the father comments “uno, dos, uno dos”. The father on the other hand wanted her to win by all mean necessary. It’s always good to have a family member give you a push if you are willing to take it. When it seemed as Margarita was worn out I thought the father was a bit too pushy. As I read along it seemed to me that Margarita was giving up because of what the reporter stated, “The greatness of this, The Wrigley Invitation Women’s Swim to Catalina, where among all the professionals there is still room for the amateurs like these, the simple people we see below us on the ragtag La Havana, taking the long shot to victory. But then she took the energy from that reporter’s criticism and the grace of prayers and won the race. I disagree a lot with this unknown critic; this is a play you are supposed to use your imagination. We as people consider things that do not just happen in everyday life a miracle. I wonder if this critic likes any small plays. Not only did I think the play was a good one, the public did also that’s why it won a Le Compte de Nouy Foundation Award. Literature, an introduction to fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 9th edition, By X.J. Kennedy | Dana Gioia 2005

Literature, an introduction to fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 9th edition, By X.J. Kennedy | Dana Gioia 2005

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