School of the Arts

The River Bride

CSU, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the fairly new dramatic folklore play, The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta. Performances take place Thursday–Saturday, April 4–6 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, April 6–7 at 2 p.m. in Wismer Theatre. Purchase tickets at the University Box Office or by calling 530-898-6333.

CSU, Chico’s production will be directed by Cynthia Lammel.

This play is inspired by Brazilian folklore about river dolphins who come ashore to seduce women. Set in a small fishing village in Brazil, it revolves around two sisters of marrying age. Belmira is to marry Duarte, her sister Helena’s secret love. But three days before the wedding, a mysterious man is pulled out of the river by a fisherman. He offers the sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future. The relationship of the sisters begins to unravel from misunderstandings in this tale of love, grudges, transformation, and the ever-present river. The playwright’s intention is to give us a story of cautionary love that is more Brothers Grimm than happily-ever-after.

The River Bride was developed in residency with AlterTheater Ensemble in San Rafael, California. In 2014, a reading was done by Lost Girls Theatre and its first production was done by AlterTheater. It was co-directed by Ann Brebner and Jeanette Harrison. The world premiere of The River Bride took place at the 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Laurie Woolery, where it was very well-received. Other performances include Santa Clara University (2015), Arizona Theatre Company (2017), Halcyon Theatre (2017), and Su Teatro (2018).

Orta was the 2013 Arizona Theatre Company’s National Latino Playwriting Award Co-Winner for The River Bride. She was also runner-up for the 2016 Latinidad Playwriting Award at The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

All of the critiques found on The River Bride are overwhelmingly positive. The San Francisco Chronicle labeled AlterTheatre’s production “a sly delight.” The Times-Standard described the Oregon Festival version as “A mesmerizing, magical tale of heartbreaking romance. A shining example of what live theatre is all about.” North Bay Bohemian described it as “Evocative, stunning…it’s easily the best new show in a strong current batch of four that just opened the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.”

About the Director

Cynthia Lammel

Cynthia Lammel is a member of the Actor's Equity Association. Her professional acting credits include 22 productions with the Alley Theatre in Houston as well as roles at other regional theatres; off-Broadway in New York; at Alan Ayckbourn’s Theatre-in-the-round in Scarborough, England; and on national tour in Foxfire with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. She is the author of the textbook, The Actor’s Job, and has taught acting and other theatre courses at Rice University, Westminster College, and in resident programs in Cambridge and London, UK. Over 23 years, Lammel has taught at one time or another almost every acting and voice and speech course at California State University, Chico and directed a dozen productions. In addition, she has acted in or directed productions locally at the Blue Room, Chico Cabaret, and Shakespeare-in-the-Park. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University.