This is an archived article.

November 19, 2009

A soldier and his wife at the center of School of Drama’s new production

Jose Rivera’s riveting examination of military families, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, is the next production for the UW School of Drama. It begins previews Monday Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 13 at the Penthouse Theatre. Directed by MFA directing candidate Alyson Roux, the play features members of the Professional Actor Training Program.

Set in 1991, in a magical backyard in Barstow, CA, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot tells a contemporary, but timeless story of soldier and spouse. Benito is coming home from the Persian Gulf War and Gabriela is anticipating his arrival. Has the war changed him? Is he still the man she wants? Is her life what she wants? Gabriela sleeps in her hot desert backyard drenched with moonlight dreaming vivid scenes of love and loss that are both humorous and heartbreaking.

Gabriela wants more from life — a better education and a better job, but clings to the memory of her love for Benito. Benito is not home enough to fulfill her dreams; he loves being a soldier in addition to loving Gabriela, and with only nine years to serve before he can retire, he begs Gabriela to stay with him. Rivera’s play has at its center this struggle between man and woman and the fact that they never really listen to each other.

Written right before 9/11, the play tugs at the heartstrings of an audience who knows what’s in store for a career soldier. As Benito claims he will never go away to war again, the audience knows that isn’t true, and we are reminded why this story is important to tell; soldiers will always have to go off to war, and we will always struggle with how to welcome them back. The play sends a message of hope that perhaps with each round we learn how to serve our servicemen better, while at the same time, veterans learn to think about the impact their absences have on their families.


Director Roux says, “Somewhere in this balance is the solution to healing after a tragedy, and Rivera explores the struggle between husband and wife in an entertaining, heart wrenching, sexy and magical way.”

Playwright Rivera has received two Obie Awards — for this show and for Marisol, and was an Academy Award nominee for the screenplay of Motorcycle Diaries. Roux, the director, is a second year MFA Directing Candidate with UW Drama, where during the 2008-09 year she directed Love Song and The Apollo of Bellac. She came to UW after working with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.

Tickets for References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot are $15 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday performances and $17 for Friday and Saturday. UW employees, Alumni Association members and seniors pay $13 for all shows. For this show only, active military veterans with ID also pay $13. All preview and student tickets are $10. Tickets are available at the UW Arts Ticket Office, 206-543-4880, or online at http://drama.washington.edu.