A Frenzied, Fun-Filled Fuácata! Offers More Than Just Laughs

The morning before I arrived at the Miracle Theatre to see “¡Fuácata! or A Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe,” the funky one-woman show by Stuart Meltzer and Elena Maria Garcia that will be running there until this September 12th, I happened to be feeling very out of place. 

On a whim, and since I’d be coming down to Miami for the show anyhow, I’d decided to attend a protest advocating for Cuban liberation, which was held, mostly, in a language that I didn’t understand. And maybe that fleeting moment of out-of-placeness was some tiny microcosm of the immigrant experience, which “Fuácata!..” explores in all of its dazzling depth and with plenty of hilarity. 

But even if you’re as Spanish-challenged as I am, you don’t have to be worried about having trouble understanding “Fuácata!…”. Though you should come prepared for the odd untranslated Spanish aside, experienced area actress Elena Maria Garcia explains the meaning of the title and any other need-to-know phrases in the course of expertly embodying all 20+ of the show’s characters. 

Elena María García brings more than 20 Latina women to glorious life on stage in ¡FUÁCATA! or A Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe playing now through September 12 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre.

First, we meet her as the high-strung and harried mother Elena Flores, who we then follow throughout the show as she struggles to balance her professional obligations as an event planner with preparations for an “International Day” at her daughter’s middle school. 

Flores’s relatable quest for the cafecito she needs to get through the rest of her busy day ahead soon leads her to a local Cuban bakery. There, with a level of skill that seemed at times more akin to wizardry than to acting prowess, Garcia transforms from Flores into several of the establishment’s other customers and then into its no-nonsense barista Estrella, who gives the first of a series of soliloquies that delve into the experiences, philosophies, and worldviews of a variety of (mostly) Latina women who cross our main character’s path. 

The names of the highlighted women are helpfully indicated on the simple but versatile set when they take the spotlight for these monologues, and often by lighting changes as well. It’s a helpful measure when so many characters are portrayed by just one awe-striking actress, despite the distinct mannerisms and personalities of these abundant alter-egos. 

Elena María García brings more than 20 Latina women to glorious life on stage in ¡FUÁCATA! or A Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe playing now through September 12 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre.

Later on in Flores’s frantic day, we run into characters as different from herand from each otheras Beatrice Goldberg, the aging Jew who regrets choosing suburban domesticity over a counterculture of “free-flowing titties,” and Lulu, a spunky Puerto-Rican mom who did time in prison after lashing out at a stranger who called her a racist slur.

Then there’s Flores’s overbearing mother or “Mami,” who “speaks perfect English but chooses not to,” Sandy Holmes (or Sandy House, as Mami would have it) whose microaggressions in her interactions with Flores bely a full-blown racism revealed in her asides, and party-girl slacker assistant Sophie, whose thrill at landing discounts inspires her to full-on disco dance. 


Elena María García brings more than 20 Latina women to glorious life on stage in ¡FUÁCATA! or A Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe playing now through September 12 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre.

The exuberant pop performer Graciela addresses the audience directly during an ecstatic but wildly inappropriate Bat Mitzvah performance, while the harrowing tale of Honduran refugee Marisol actually brought a few tears to my eyes.

Clever moments of cartoonish exaggeration, like Graciela’s antics and a memorable interlude where Flores’s continual search for coffee results in a slapstick Starbucks routine, do nothing to dull the impact of the play’s insightful commentary and plentiful poignant moments, like a concluding note of hope that’s satisfying without crossing into saccharine. 

So whether you’re just in the mood for a few laughs or looking to enhance your understanding of Miami’s unique Spanish subculture, there’s absolutely no reason you should let the next few weekends of “Fuácata!…” pass you by. By going as deeply as it does into so many different facets of what it means to be a Latina woman in today’s America, this one of a kind one-woman event becomes as truly all-encompassing as its cosmic subtitle implies.

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