‘The Madres’ has its world premiere at Skylight Theatre Company

Stephanie Alison Walker’s award-winning play is a timely portrait of the power and resilience of women.

The year is 1977, and people are disappearing right and left.

It is the height of the "Dirty War," a period of state terrorism led by Argentina's civic military dictatorship. Right-wing leaders are targeting suspected leftists, silently removing them from society. Over 20,000 students, writers, artists, and journalists have disappeared so far, but the corrupt government calls anyone who reports their child missing "crazy." Still, every Thursday, the mothers of the disappeared don white headscarves and march through the streets, demanding the corrupt government return their children. These brave women are known as Las Madres.

Stephanie Alison Walker's award-winning new play, "The Madres" centers around Josephine Acosta (Margarita Lamas), the mother of Carolina (Arianna Ortiz). Despite warnings from the local priest (Gabriel Romero), Carolina marches with Las Madres in search of her missing daughter, Belèn (Natalie Llerana). Tensions rise as Josephine and Carolina come up with a plan to see Belèn one last time.

Under the direction of Sara Guerrero, the effect of Skylight Theatre Company's world premiere of "The Madres" is twofold. It exists first and foremost as an incredibly important story to share within in its own historical context. However, the play's focus on the power and resilience of women also allows it to function as a timely meditation on our modern-day era of Women's Marches and the "Me Too" movement. The show's design reflects this fusion of temporal settings. While Jojo Siu's costume design sticks truthfully to the flowy, floral trends of the 1970s, Christopher Scott Murillo's gorgeously detailed set design combines the tangible world of Josephine's living room with modern overhead projections.

Although the first act occasionally lags, the actors' truthful portrayals more than make up for the play's initial pacing issues. Ortiz's Carolina is particularly compelling; the gripping character toes the line between determination and insanity. Other impressive performances include Llerana's poignant and battered Belèn and Alexander Pimentel as Diego, a right-wing soldier with masculinity so fragile it could snap.

If you're looking for a powerful night of theatre that will keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further than Skylight's successful world premiere.

For tickets or more information, visit Skylight Theatre Company's website. "The Madres" runs through April 29th at 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $15-$41.

You can contact contributing writer Abigail Swoap here.