Chela Uses Poems, Stories to Break Abuse Cycle

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Dulce Maria Solis in Chela.

The talented Dulce Maria Solis has put together a noble and compassionate work of art with a tribute to her beloved mother, Chela, that’s full of blood, sweat and tears.

This one woman show makes a strong statement on the utmost importance of breaking the cycle of domestic violence, as the artist presents her world view and upbringing, coming to us in poetic words, stories, and creative images, costumes and props. Solis (as Chela) is literally and figuratively beautiful as she delivers scene after scene with heart/gut wrenching, soulful tales of her mother’s ultimate triumph after years of horrific domestic abuse and degradation.

Few theatrical and cinematic productions dare to take on this once taboo subject; Precious and Flowers Aren’t Enough are two examples. In Chela, each and every vignette is woven together like a quilted patchwork, with Solis’ substance and inner strength, the stuff of which she’s made – definitely traits she inherited from her mother. Chela’s connection to her family and children is what sustained her and now the universe has come full circle, with her daughter presenting her life memoir. She’s not just acting the role, but almost vicariously reliving the nightmare.

In one scene it’s almost like the audience is right there in a Oklahoma psychiatric ward, witnessing the horrors through vivid flashbacks and graphic footage. Chela escapes, survives, and lives to tell her tale, empowering women near and dear.

The show plays every Wednesday at 8 p.m. through October 20 at the Santa Monica Playhouse. For more information, visit www.thechelawebsite.com.

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