Roaring Fork rolls out the laughs with ‘Tortilla’
CARBONDALE – Roaring Fork High School presents its spring play “Our Lady of the Tortilla,” a comedy by Luis Santeiro, at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the RFHS auditorium.”Our Lady of the Tortilla” is set in a Chicano suburb in New Jersey, very similar to Carbondale in its cultural demographics, said RFHS English language instructor Carmen Montgomery.According to a synopsis of the play, the lead character, Nelson brings his girlfriend, Beverly, home during college break to meet the family. All he wants is for them to be ‘normal’ and not embarrass him. Nelson’s plans go horribly awry as his mother, Dahlia, pursues her ex-husband; his brother and rival, Eddy, makes a surprise visit, and his Aunt Dolores sets off a media circus when the Virgin Mary appears to her in a tortilla.Montgomery credits longtime RFHS student play director Ralph Young in coming up with the idea for the play.
“We would have no theater program without Ralph, because he understands every aspect of the art and science of theater,” she said. “I have been really lucky to get to work with him.”This is the fourth year Ralph has mentored Montgomery in theater production.”I taught drama for the first time in the 2002-03 school year, and Ralph had taught it in years previous,” she said. “I really had a passion for drama, and he was willing to let me give it a shot, fresh out of college.””Tortilla” was one of Young’s recommendations. Dramatist.com, a popular theater resource site, touts it as a good play for young people because they can relate to the characters and what is going on in their lives.
“Any of us can empathize with Nelson, who wants his family to be ‘normal’ when he brings his girlfriend home to meet them,” Montgomery said. “‘Tortilla’ is also a good play for our school and our community.”Students in Montgomery’s first drama class – now seniors – had asked several times if they could produce “Tortilla” as an all-school play. One student in particular, Jenny Castillo, was very persistent, she said.”Jenny is such a talented actress, and she took drama several times and helped lots of other students,” Montgomery said. “Since she is a senior this year and won’t have another chance, we are ready to open on Sunday night.”Thirteen students and two adults have contributed time and effort to building and painting the set, and they are not done yet. The set called for a complete kitchen, including counters, cabinets and appliances.
“Ralph worked with our students to get it started, but we had to go begging for appliances and fixtures,” Montgomery said. “Larry Black, our industrial arts teacher, gives us liberal use of the woodshop and tools, or there would be no plays.”Jay Engstrom is the light engineer for the show. Cory Browning is the sound technician and also handles the offstage voices.”It takes hundreds of hours and dozens of people to make even a simple play like ‘Tortilla,’ for a few nights entertainment,” Montgomery said. “It is comparable to the hours of work one spends making a holiday meal that is merely a burp within half an hour.”Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students, and are available at the door.
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