Coloradan returns home to bring ‘magic realism’ to the Arvada Center stage in ‘The River Bride’

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2min 11sec
Courtesy of Arvada Center/Amanda Tipton Photography
Katie Rodriguez, who plays Helena, and Stephanie Saltis, as Belmira, in the Arvada Center’s production of “The River Bride.”

Jamie Anne Romero built her career in Colorado as an actor and theatermaker. Now, she has returned home from New York to direct a new production of Marisela Treviño Orta's “The River Bride” at the Arvada Center’s Black Box Theater. 

“It's been a dream to come home and to tell this story. I grew up 15 minutes down Wadsworth very close to the Arvada Center, so it's a place that's very near and dear to my heart,” Romero said. “I think of the Arvada Center as one of my artistic homes, and I love that I got to bring this play to its stages”

Inspired by a Brazilian folktale, “The River Bride” tells the tale of two sisters who must choose between love, family, and a mysterious man pulled from the Amazon River three days before a wedding.

The story is a fable where magic realism meets romance, yet Romero and the cast were able to craft a restrained interpretation of the story so that all of those elements didn't interfere with character and story. Romero said she believes rooting the story in honesty is the key.

“Thinking about magical realism and how we encounter it every day in our real lives, whether it be through coincidences or, that little bit of deja vu — I had told you I had met my good friend’s brand new 6-week-old baby this summer, and holding her and looking in her face was a bit of magical realism right there in the real life, becauseI looked at her face and realized I would do anything for her.”

Romero says fairy tales and folk tales are cautionary tales intended to teach us lessons. “I learned how important it is to be brave: to be brave in love, to be brave in tackling what you want in this world, and to be brave in believing in yourself.”Romero lauds the Arvada Center's decision to bring this piece to their stage and expand representation

“And it's not lost on me that this play is a Latinx play written by a Latina playwright, directed by a Latina director, set in costume design by a Latino designer and a cast that's made up of a Latinx group of actors. It's wonderful to have our stories represented on such a big stage as the Arvada Center.”

The River Bride’s cast features Gabriella Cavallero, and Matt Zambrano as the parents, supporting Romero’s restrained approach that grounds the show’s magic realism with authenticity and heart. 

The River Bride plays at the Arvada Center through November 6th, 2022.