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Updated: Nov 9, 2021

A New Play Focuses on a Mexican Feminist Icon and Her Forbidden Relationship

Based on the novel SOR JUANA’s Second Dream by ALICIA GASPAR DE ALBA

The MACHA Theatre Co. is now showing a fascinating, controversial play in Los Angeles. MACHA stands for Mujeres (Women) Advancing Culture, History, & Art, and its new play is titled The Nun and the Countess by ODALYS NANIN based on the novel SOR JUANA’s Second Dream by ALICIA GASPAR DE ALBA.

. The plot focuses on the passionate—and decidedly forbidden— romance between Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th-century Mexican nun, and Countess María Luisa Manrique de Lara y Gonzaga, Vicereine of Mexico.

Sor Juana, as Mexican literature and history buffs know, was not only a Hieronymite nun, but also a prolific poet, a philosopher, a musician, and a playwright. She is the feminist symbol whose face appears on the 100-peso bill and, in fact, she is the first feminist of the New World.

Odalys Nanin stars as the legendary nun, who wooed the Countess (played by Genevieve Joy) with breathtaking poems. The audience is able to peer into their intimate relationship, made all but impossible given their restrictive circumstances. The two women are soulmates in a heartwrenching predicament. They yearn to fully express their love, but need to keep it hidden from a society that would neither understand nor allow it.

The Nun and the Countess, paradoxically both elegant and explosive, is produced, directed, and written by Odalys Nanin, co-directed by Corky Dominguez, and co-produced by activist, actress, and cultural promoter Begonya De Salvo. The story goes way beyond being a same-sex love story, and can be described as a call to inclusion and human rights.

Stars such Graciela Valderrama, Armando Rey, Vanessa Diego, Chelsea McIntosh Hernandez, Nakasha Norwood, Paul Cascante, and Delfin Toro appear on stage.

Lee Ann Gutierrez Fluter, understudy.

Other experts were involved—the set design is by Marco de Leon; the light design, by Sammie Wayne; the sound design, by Scott Nikoley; and the costume design, by Shon Le Blanc. Morgan Walker was stage manager, Claudia Duran was assistant producer, and Gabriela Lopez de Dennis was in charge of graphics.


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MACHA Theatre is a non-profit organization producing cutting-edge plays, films, and adaptations of classics in order to spur a conversation about the LatinX LGBTQI experience. It is sponsored in part by a grant from East Side Arts Initiative, Los Angeles County Arts & Culture, and California Community Foundation.

The Nun and the Countess is scheduled to run from October 22nd through November 7th at the CASA0101 Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets are available at www.m . This website also offers a lineup of on-demand plays and films to stream at home, in some cases free of charge.


Instagram: @cocodesalvo and @lasgitanasdela

Twitter: @BegonyaDeSalvo and @lasgitanasdela

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