By David Schlosser

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Simply put, the Borderlands Theater's production of "Real Women Have Curves" will be one of this year's best plays.

"Real Women" offers funny and honest insight into the lives of immigrant Hispanic women.

The play was written by Josefina Ląpez, who also stars in this production as Ana, a young Hispanic immigrant in America who has just graduated from high school. The action takes place inside a small sewing factory owned by her sister Estela (Catalina Maynard). Ana longs to go to college and become a writer, but is stuck working in the factory.

The cast is rounded-out by Ana's mother, Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), the chronically overweight Pancha (Norma Medina) and the thin girl who sees herself as overweight, Rosali (Annabelle Nu„ez). All of the women have recently become legal citizens except Estela, who lives in fear of "la migra" raiding her small factory.

Ląpez won the Young Playwrights Award at the age of 17 for her semi-autobiographical play "Simply Maria or the American Dream," which was eventually produced by PBS and received an Emmy. "Real Women" was completed by Ląpez at the age of 19 and is her first full-length play. A Spanish version of the play will tour the country later this year. Ląpez has also worked as a writer on the Fox television shows "Living Single" and "Culture Clash," where she appears as a semi-regular performer.

Ontiveros, who has appeared in the films "El Norte," "Goonies" and "Born in East L.A.," is hilarious as Carmen, constantly disrupting the flow of work in the factory with her incessant gossiping. One of the stories she tells to enlighten her helpless coworkers is about the time she squated to urinate in poison ivy just before losing her virginity, and becomes a little upset to find that making love for the first time has given her an embarrassing rash.

Like the title suggests, "Real Women Have Curves" also deals with issues of weight in an extremely honest and refreshing manner. As if to prod the point along, for some strange reason the dresses that the factory has been contracted to make for Bloomingdale's come no larger than a size 9.

Ląpez also manages to bring her sharp wit in on the silliness of weight watching. In the second act, the characters all begin to de-clothe themselves to compare stretch marks. On the serious side, the pretty Rosali is addicted to diet pills and faints part way through.

"Real Women Have Curves" may well be one of the best plays produced in Tucson this year. Don't miss it.

{"Real Women Have Curves" plays Wednesdays through Sundays until Sept. 4 at the Pima Community College West Campus Center for the Arts. General admission is $10 or $6 for students with ID. Read Next Article