Queens College’s production of “Undone,” written by Andrea Thome and directed by Tamilla Woodard, demonstrates the miscommunication between different generations using a mother-daughter relationship.
The constant arguing between mother Odile, played by senior Shaunette Wilson, and daughter Valentina, played by senior Rosanny Zayas, affects their relationship drastically.
“Undone” takes place in “a city like New York,” according to the playbill, that is troubled by violence. One character is shot and another, Yoan, who plays a troubled teen, gets in the middle of a shooting incident. Each character deals with their own problems individually but in a way, their problems also intertwine with one another.
Valentina grapples with teenage pregnancy and not knowing whether she should keep the baby or if she is even ready to be a mother.
Odile’s struggle to cope with what happened to her in her native country comes back to haunt her as her daughter becomes a reflection of herself. In a refugee camp, she had to make a choice between her husband and her baby’s life – captured and tortured by officers, Odile had to tell them what her husband’s name was or they would kill her baby, or, if she told her husband’s name, she would keep the baby but ultimately her husband would die.
This comes back to haunt Odile as her daughter mirrors herself in deciding to have the baby. Odile’s secret past prevents her from making a connecting relationship with her daughter and helping Valentina during this hard time.
Valentina tries keeping her pregnancy a secret from her mother but, because they live in a small apartment building, the neighbors all know her secret. Valentina also battles with her boyfriend Yoan, played by senior Manuel Estevez Taveras.
Thome mentioned the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca, whose name means “Smoking Mirror,” as her inspiration for portraying Odile’s need to face her past, according to the playwright’s note.
“Tezcatlipoca reminds us, sometimes only acknowledging the shadows, the painful reflection makes transformation possible—and allows us to live in the present without forgetting those we have lost,” said Thome.
Woodard said that Thome has been to majority of the rehearsals at QC and has made some edits. The play’s performance at QC is the first time that it is seen in its entirety.
“Undone” was first created at the Lark Play Development Center and International Arts Relations, Inc.’s New Works Lab. While performed at INTAR’s workshop, it only ran as the first act. Thome has since completed the play. His edits tested the narrative of the story and the way it would be performed, according to Woodard.
Woodard and Thome admire the QC actors and being able to develop their characters further.
“The very talented students in our cast have helped us discover a great deal about the play and enabled us to make many changes and additions,” Woodard said.
Jiliane Russo, a QC Aaron Copland School of Music student, composed the music for “Undone” and plays it live at the show.
The play’s second weekend of performances will be from March 29 to April 1 in the performance space at Rathaus Hall, M11.
QC students Jennifer Martinez, junior, and Nancy Torres, senior, both saw the play on March 23 and enjoyed the fact that the show handled issues that are relevant today.
“Most people come to plays as a form of entertainment, this was entertaining but it also portrayed real situations,” Martinez said.