Martina, The Little Roach

It had been a long time since I visited the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center and I won’t go into details when I last saw a children’s play. However, the universe works in mysterious ways and I found myself, nephew at hand in front of the entrance to Society of the Educational Arts, Inc. (SEA), a Bilingual Arts-in-Education Organization & Latino Theatre Company for Young Audiences ( I was there to watch “La Cucarachita Martina” or “Martina the Little Roach” to which I was invited to see. Acting is a serious and difficult craft, performing in live theater is no easy task either, now acting in a children’s production is a totally different ball game. Trying to get children’s attention and maintaining it for about an hour, requires talent and a great deal of dedication. It also helps to have a great production behind a good story. From the moment we walked into the theater, my nephew was captivated by the lively set. His mind started to wonder and the never ending questions about the set and show started to flow. “is it a real roach? Are the animals real? Why, when, where and, how? and most importantly, when is the show going to start? The perfectly executed performance by the cast and crew of “La Cucarachita Martina”, was remembered by the young one for weeks to come. The play starts with a song by the narrator introducing the story about the lonely, Cucarachita Martina. The way the show was performed it included a good deal of interaction and audience participation, that intrigued and maintained all the kids engaged. The narrator (Indra Palomo) does a great job, engaging the audience specially the kids to participate. Her costume, you would expect to see from a TV host on a Saturday morning kids show. The narrator’s performance and control of the production’s rhythm was impeccable. The songs were perfectly spaced and timed during the performance, never overpowering but complementing and emphasizing the emotion’s or pivotal points in the story. Ensuring that the kids understood the story and message. 

 The puppets were amazing and really came to life. The concept and execution of each character show a great deal of creativity and knowledge of the artistry; from the wooden roach, the big faced cat and the giant dog, each with unique characteristics and meticulous details. The entire production was entertaining and a guaranteed hit. There is a reason why SEA is one of the leading theater companies for young audiences. I would definitely go back and take the children in my family to see their future productions. Our kids need a place to learn about our culture and what better place than the theater? Investing in taking your child to see a live show has its benefits. We have to take advantage of companies like SEA where they produce bilingual shows catered specially to them. Igniting in them a spark of curiosity for the world of theater and it is also a fun a creative and memorable way for them to learn. Evidence of that was my nephew singing some of the songs and reciting lines from his favorite character “The Cat” a savvy and witty dominican feline. 

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