“Ser!” Review by Rose Desena

This Week in Theater



Written and performed by Karen Anzoategui


Saturday night was awesome. I went to Buenos Aires. Well not really, but it felt like I was on a mini vacation.  I had the pleasure of seeing Karen Anzoategui’s one woman show, “ Ser!” (The Spanish verb to be). It’s a vivacious entertaining show of Latin jazz music, dancing and poetic cultural story telling.



Karen captures the color of Latin life both here in LA and in Karen’s second home of Buenos Aires. She takes the audience on her journey as she finds a place in this mixed-up world.  From the minute, you sit down until the end you are entertained and absorbed in Karen’s life as her personality and talent caress you.



Her home at the opening of the play is East LA, but later she moves between Argentina and rural areas of Los Angeles County.  Karen’s mom has a story we have heard often; a weak willed woman is victimized by her macho irresponsible husband, left alone for weeks and constantly broke.  The family is left to fend for themselves.



Like so many determined women, she managed to put food on the table and kept the family together by making custom plastic slip covers. She also made dresses for Karen and that made her little girl very unhappy. She hated those pretty little dresses; Karen liked soccer jerseys, shorts and sneakers. Her fascination with soccer and obsession with Diego Maradona, an Argentine soccer player, made her the subject of family criticism; it also separated her from her peers leaving her with little support or friends.



Perhaps she was just looking for someone to look up to, and Diego might have symbolized the man she wanted for her father.  Karen was a victim of an unstable home life; her older brother was a gangster-type who rarely spent time at home, and her younger brother was quiet and introverted. Karen chose to portray him as a mute with a horn, like Harpo Marx, to communicate. All the moving added to issues and made it all that much harder to find her place.   She was constantly disappointed by the men she should have looked up to, and she desperately searches for a place of solace and comfort.



Karen does a fantastic job as she seamlessly floats from one character to another, giving each one a uniqueness with her voice.  Her main stage prop is a huge soccer ball that she dances around like a graceful cat. She surprises the audience by breaking up the story with her fun dance moves.



The rests of the props are all dropped down from a hook utilizing the small round stage. Karen is an absolute joy to watch. Her performance is accompanied by a fantastic band that fills the small theater beautifully with original music by Cava, (composer, Claudia Gonzalez-Tenorio). The sound wraps around the audience as if you’re at a concert hall, making the whole thing magical. I have to admit I was moving a little in my seat. Even though it’s a sad story, I never felt sorrowful; and I hate spoilers, but it has a good ending. It’s comically written and creatively presented. Director Marcos Najera brings out the best in her.  “Ser!” is a winner!


I truly enjoy stories rich in culture and family history; the Latino Theater Company rocks in that department.  I sincerely appreciate their vision and commitment to ethnically diverse theater. This is a wonderful group. Go see this, it’s worth every bit of the $30 ticket. Some discounts are available please check the site.



Written and performed by Karen Anzoategui
Directed by Marcos Nájera
Featuring music by CAVA and Walter Miranda in collaboration with Louie Pérez of Los Lobos
Produced by the Latino Theater Company

Performances: Nov. 16-Dec. 8

Thursdays @ 8 pm: Nov. 21; Dec. 5 (dark Nov. 28)
Fridays @ 8 pm: Nov. 15 (preview); 22, 29; Dec. 6
Saturdays @ 8 pm: Nov. 16 (Opening), 23, 30; Dec. 7
Sundays @ 3 pm: Nov. 17,* 24;* Dec. 1,* 8
* A moderated discussion will follow the performances on Nov. 17, Nov.  24 and Dec. 1.

Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(866) 811-4111





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