The Mayfair neighborhood takes center stage in Teatro Visión’s upcoming production, Becoming (MAR). Performed by an amazing cast of local youth and teens, Becoming (MAR) is a world premiere by San José playwright Maribel Martínez. It is directed by Bay Area theater luminary Wilma Bonet, whose last directing credit with Teatro Visión was the 2018 youth production of The House on Mango Street.
The play follows the journey of Mariela, a gender expansive 9-year-old who attends Sofia Mendoza Elementary, a fictional elementary school named for prominent San José activist Sofia Mendoza. Feeling out of place at her school, Mariela runs away and finds herself in the In Between, the land of ancestors. While there, she meets a colorful cast of characters, including a sassy owl, an emotional tortoise, a singing prairie dog, an honorable snake, and a mischievous centipede, who help Mariela to appreciate the beauty and power of her own unique escencia.
Martínez, who grew up near Story and King, chose to set the play in the Mayfair because she wanted to honor the place where she grew up and its local community heroes. Martínez explains, “you’ll see the story that takes place in East San José, in the Mayfair neighborhood. So there’ll be references to San José, to Alum Rock, to Sofia Mendoza.”
Martínez also had some very special help in refining the script for Becoming (MAR), thanks to a series of script development workshops that Teatro Visión held with local youth and teen actors. “These are rock star young people,” says Martínez, “They just had wonderful insights.”
Stage Director Wilma Bonet, whose resume includes working with major theatre companies such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre, Lorraine Hasnberry, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Mark Taper Forum, San José Stage Company, San José Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, and Teatro Visión among many, is a director known for artfully taking the audience on a journey of visual delight and a sincere connection with the characters’ own transformation. In Becoming (MAR), Bonet, along with a cast of talented local youth, creates the worlds where 9 years old Mariela discovers her own power in a heartwarming and amusing way. Becoming (MAR) is a story told by youth for people of all ages.
Performances of Becoming (MAR) will take place April 7-10 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San José, CA. Tickets start at just $10 and are available online at www.teatrovision.org/becomingmar, by phone at 408-294-6621, and can be purchased at the box office before each performance. Becoming (MAR) is performed bilingually in English and Spanish with English and Spanish supertitles. The show is perfect for audiences of all ages, but attendees must be fully vaccinated and masked. Becoming (MAR) will also be available on demand online from May 1-31.