This one-act play portrays two generations of women coping with motherhood and madness in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Torn between historical and personal traumas, and love, fear, and resentment for their daughters, Candela and Gloria's stories are almost impossible to tell apart. Each day, without reprieve, they speak to themselves and to each other across a wall. One day, however, the wall no longer holds, and Candela and Gloria come face to face. They simply can't forget—if anything, they remember too much. Likewise, their daughters—now women living in exile—grapple with lives turned upside-down by history and personal choices. Their mothers will die without them. Their own daughters, too, will leave them one day. Ultimately, HOUSES WITHOUT WALLS reminds us that motherhood, like a revolution, is a life-altering event—often wrought with obligation, madness, and pain.
Read an excerpt at LCG Lounge: http://www.lcgeditores.com/blog/2017/12/4/houses-without-walls-by-susannah-rodriguez-drissi
Interview with DJ José Cristóbal from KXLU 88.9 FM Alma del Barrio, LMU's Latin sound since 1973.
Videos with director and cast:
What a stunning and powerful performance by truly gifted actors. The script is masterfully crafted, leaving me feeling deeply moved and uncomfortable, with the suffering of both mothers' and daughters'. The passion with which the performers portrayed their characters, made their personal investment in this story evident. I laughed, I cried and I was changed by this wonderful piece.
Susannah Rodriguez Drissi's one-act play “Houses Without Walls” brought me to tears and definitely made an impact on me. As a child of Filipino immigrants, I appreciate the story of sacrifice and separation from family. It allowed me a thoughtful and powerful glimpse at what family members who are left behind experience. As a daughter who looks forward to being a mother someday, I could relate to the incomparable bond and complex relationship between mothers and daughters. Even if you're not the child of immigrants or a mother or daughter, this play's powerful messages, descriptive storytelling, and superb cast is sure to make an impact on you.
A powerhouse production all around. Houses Without Walls evoked deep trauma that I have struggled for years to confront because I left my home in search of a better life just like the characters in this play. De Leon's gut punching emotions ranging from comedic sensibilities to tragic drama laced with an honest vulnerable interpretation of Candela are ingredients for a stellar performance that will haunt me for weeks. Hojas performance reminds of the scary aunt In Hand maidens tale, Magdalenas humorous character changes from fragile to distraught and all of this going from 0-100 in 45 min is an amazing testament to strong women working together to tell a story that helps one heal from traumatic experiences that can scar one if not confronted and this is the type of show that allows one to feel the emotions that help heal. The QA was a great experience to hear how all of the women were connected to this gut wrenching material. Sad that this is still happening with families separated and the guilt that one has from wanting a better life is something that is rarely talked about. Phenomenal show that I loved thank you ladies great job!
I loved this powerful show!! It's so timely given what's happening all over the world today with family's torn apart through immigration triggered by political instability and war. The universal trauma of leaving your mother (biological, ancestral country, nation state) is profoundly played out by the three outstanding actresses. The playwright has offered us a truly transformative experience. As an audience we were breathing, crying, and laughing together. Don't miss Houses Without Walls!
Hauntingly beautiful. Powerful. Poetic. Universal. Emotional. At the intersection of love, loss, longing, trauma, and hope, Susannah Rodriguez Drissi's visceral tour de force is a raw, real depiction of humanity that will stay with audience members for years to come.
I thoroughly enjoyed Houses without Walls. It's a powerful potrayal of motherhood and longing, and it poses compelling questions about the walls between individuals and nations.
Houses without walls is a powerful story that is undoubtedly a very personal story for writer director. All the actresses were brilliant, from Yelyna De Leon's deep and emotional intensity, to Magdalena Emars honesty to Maria's raw performances, they all shined. I was heartbroken to find out about the history of what happened in Cuba as all I have read before this has been romanticized. This is a historical piece and very timely as it humanizes the immigration experience and no matter where you are from you will experience an intensity that can only come from a story told by the best in their craft.
The play approaches immigration by engaging with the people who stay behind. By doing so, the play gives a voice to this community in a way that many other mediums scarcely do. The play succeeds in depicting the pain these populations face while being separated from their loved ones, either forcibly or willingly. The cast capture an array of emotions that come along in this process: longing, pain, humor, hopefulness, and cynicism, to name a few. Additionally, the story the play tells is a universal tale that applies to many populations of people who have had to interact with large numbers of their people leaving others behind. Looking at my fellow audience members, I see this play evoking emotion from all walks of people, which is a testament to both the play's writing and the cast's performance. The concise structure of the work allows for each line to feel important and urgent. By doing so, the play's length reminds audiences that the play is not capturing a character's whole life, but instead realistically and genuinely immortalizing a moment in time. For this, the play succeeds in encouraging audiences to use their time to reflect on the experience they now collectively share with a larger community of audiences, and how this experience connects them to each other.
The play does a marvelous job of capturing the feeling of separation that comes with immigration. The writing genuinely depicts how these people feel as they are either left alone or choose to be alone. Cast packs in so much emotion!
What a beautiful and poignant account of a true experience. I was so moved by how sincere and complex these characters developed.
I attended the play last Wednesday and I have to admit I was so happy to have come. Houses without walls is a beautifully written and brilliant story of two mothers and two daugthers separated by dreams and the Castro's regime that is played elengantly by three great actresses. The script is poetic, nothing is literal, adding up to a piece of art that fortunately does use common places to captivate the audicence. And yet, is highly emotional. I hope many more people get to enjoy the work of this fantastic Cuban-origin writter.
Honestly, I am a huge fan of the theater having studied it myself in college. This production was incredibly moving- fueled by each actor's talent and internal struggle. This play touches upon a heart breaking issue which is extremely relevant and important due to our current political climate and affairs. Each actress was motivated and assisted eachother in moving the piece forward. I couldn't help but break into tears by the end Houses Without Walls. This is the kind of theater I pay to see and I am extremely touched and grateful that I had the opportunity to see this production. Kudos to everyone involved, including Yelyna!
This was more than outstanding. You took me back to '91 and when my mother said with tears in her eyes, "I wish you weren't going so far..". Thank you!
I have watched a lot Theater in my day and I must say this show wowed me. From the moment the narrator opens the curtain and lets us in on this intimate house in Cuba I was transported to 1985 Havana. This story was near and dear to my heart and made me cry like I have never done before at any play. It was intimate, dramatic and funny at the right moments. The performances by Yelyna De Leon, Maria Hojas and Magdalena Emar are so powerful and honest that it moved me to a point where I feel some healing and relief about the tragic events that happened. Rodriguez Drissi's work has made me a fan of all these powerhouse women now.
So powerful and emotional! Amazing! The performances were so sincere and heart wrenching at times. As a musician, I loved the Cuban melodies. This wonderful portrayal of the human condition, I'm so glad I was able to witness Houses Without Walls
It is a beautiful, raw, emotional show where the most sacred relationships between women are challenged by the most outrageous and real of circumstances, and therefore they are explored in the most painfully honest way. It is poetic, it is maddening. It is human. I absolutely loved it. As a Latina woman, I recognize every character. It protected the culture of it.
Short but strong. Powerful like an EmergenC shot when you are having the sniffles. Made me tear up a little, and remember my mom, and the so many women before me that have left their families, and have endured the unknown. This play is not for weak hearted folks. Thank you Susana.
Excellent play and amazing performances. The play explores the trauma of immigration and family relations in the diaspora.
House Without Walls is a poetic play, in which you can feel the impact of the words and the performance. It's so well written that the people on the audience are able to relate themselves with the play in different levels. Moreover, the resolution of the play is not obviously clear which is really smart since the author and director gives the audience the gift of interpretation, in where we can talk about people who stayed, people who left, the struggling of being a mother, the pressure of being a daughter, immigration, motherland, life and death. The poetic words and phrases of this amazing author get into your skin and makes you connect with motherhood, with loneliness, with the missing and the regretting. This play talks beautifully about being a foreigner, an exiled, a motherland's betrayer in a city full of immigrants who came here looking for something better. Immigrants who are still struggling with being apart. I think it's important to see this play because connects with humane feelings and political issues such as immigration and what's going on now in the border. The Cube they talk about in the play it's at the same time our today society closing door to people who need help and separating children from their parents.
A heartwrenching and beautiful play about the struggles of mothers and daughters during 1980s Cuban Mariel Boatlift. The pain of their separation and its aftermath is portrayed expertly in Houses Without Walls. You'll leave the theater with your uterus on the floor and ready to speed dial your mother.
Houses Without Walls, written and directed by Susannah Rodriguez Drissi, is without a doubt one of the most important theatre experiences of my life. The set is alive even before the audience enters, the actors haunt the space with spiritual gravity and a rare psychic intelligence, the likes I have never seen in a play. The story moves through our bodies, stirring a familiar sixth sense, and without giving it away, you will recognize the fact that you have never witnessed a play like this. If you truly seek honesty in the dramatic arts, you've finally arrived.
Exceptionally well written and told from a perspective so different yet so similar to my own. Relatable as a woman, a mother, a daughter and a human being. A telling in a way that is so extraordinary that at some point this particular audience member miraculously left her seat and somehow found herself nestled in the middle of that wall... An exceptional performance by 3 very talented women. Kudos to all...
A very poetic storyline reflecting the harsh realities of motherhood and the Cuban revolution. The all-women cast did an amazing job portraying a very difficult time in history and the writing was amazing. Looking forward to Dr. Drissi's next work of art!! Absolutely loved it!
There's a lot of heart and soul that will both uplift and sadden the human spirit. María Ignacia Hojas serves as both the narrator and participator. She conveys what the women are too emotional to say... All three actresses do a marvelous job in expressing their feelings of despair, anger and eventually hope for a better life. Rodriguez Drissi writes an eloquent letter to the strength of the mother-daughter bond who must face a new experience and lean heavily on each other to get through it. Rodriguez Drissi says it best. "This play is about walls—the ones we imagine, the ones we build and, ultimately, the ones we must tear down."
On her first outing, playwright Susannah Rodriguez-Drissi has hit it out of the park! 'Houses Without Walls' is rich in subtext, metaphor and humor. A real theatrical treat. I am sure I am not the only one looking forward to future works by this new talent on the L.A. theater scene.