By Tanja Saracho
After finding out that her opportunities in theater auditions were limited, with the only roles available for Latina actors being maids and sex workers, Mexican-American playwright, dramaturge and screenwriter Tanya Saracho co-founded the Teatro Luna in the year 2000 in Chicago, an all-Latina theater group. In 2012 she began working in television for most popular shows including “Girls”, "Devious Maids," and How To Get Away With Murder.”
Throughout her work, Saracho has sought to provide representation for Latina people, and to redress stereotypes. She is particularly known for centering the "Latina gaze". Saracho has often spoken about how few shows come from a Latina gaze: "It´s Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time on one end of the spectrum, and La Reina del Sur and Narcos on the other. ... We get the good wholesomeness, or we get the cartel."
In 2008 Saracho wrote the theater play Enfrascada (Jarred), a comedy about a group of Latina girlfriends who turn to witchcraft in order to help one of them cope with a life-crashing experience. Despite Alicia´s initial desbelief, she ends up visiting three witches or “Señoras”, who offer her help in form of various spells in order to make things how they used to be. From Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santería, to Brujería, Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda, the religious and spiritual practices in the Latin American and Afro-Caribbean communities are vast. Influenced by each country pre-columbine indigenous cultures, Catholicism brought by the Spanish colonization, and African witchcraft particularly in the afro-Caribbean area, the purpose may range from benevolent white magic to evil black magic.
In this play, Saracho does not dwelve into the veracity of the claims made by witchcraft practitioners or challenge the existence of magic. Instead, she explores the role the Señoras play among Latina women´s lives, and tells a hilarious tale about sisterhood, magic, and getting completely lost before finding the path again.