cast members in the SFA School of Theatre and Dance’s production of “Real Women Have Curves”

Cast members in the SFA School of Theatre and Dance’s production of “Real Women Have Curves” include, from left, Valentina Haj, Houston junior, as Pancha; Jessenia Torres, Dallas sophomore, as Ana; Hannah Marfin, San Antonio senior, as Estela; Daisy Obregon, Port Neches sophomore, as Carmen; and Xitlali Chavez-Aponte, Houston freshman, as Rosali.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Anyone who likes warm-hearted dramadies about family and the struggles and joys of making a small business work will love the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre and Dance’s presentation of “Real Women Have Curves” by Josefina López.

Celebrating the immigrant experience, body positivity and the wisdom and strength of Latinas, “Real Women Have Curves” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 18 through 20 and April 25 through 27 and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21 and April 27 and 28, in the Black Box Theatre in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

“Real Women Have Curves” is making SFA theatre history as the first Mainstage show to have an all Latina cast, and it’s the first Mainstage to be presented in the new intimate Black Box Theatre, putting the audience almost within reach of the performers, according to Dr. Slade Billew, professor of theatre at SFA and the play’s director.

“Our season is built from proposals by faculty and students,” Billew said, “and I think we got close to 10 proposals from students for this show. So, it was clearly a show that has meaning especially to our Latinx students. Also, we wanted the first season in our new Griffith Fine Arts Building to be composed of shows that would be known to the broader Nacogdoches community, and this show has that.”

The show follows a group of Latinas working in the garment district in Los Angeles in the 2010s. The point-of-view character Ana is the youngest and is rebelling against her mother and sister who have more traditional plans for her life.

“She wants to become a writer, and she feels like she understands life and the world better than the more old-fashioned women who work in the factory,” explains Billew. “Over the course of the play, Ana both learns to respect them, but also teaches them to respect her.”

With a small cast of only five actors who are on stage almost the whole time, “Real Women Have Curves” requires “a lot of work and attention for student actors,” Billew said.

“The show is very emotionally intimate,” he said, “which can be challenging when the audience is so close.”

The play challenges not only actors but also designers, who are learning to work in the smaller Black Box space not typically used for this larger yet intricate level of design. The characters have complex interpersonal dynamics, because as family, it should appear that most of them have known each other for some time.

“Finding that kind of depth of relationship can be challenging,” Billew said. “The characters also spend significant time sewing, which is a skill some of the actors came into rehearsal with, but others did not. The show is also bilingual with characters switching fluidly between English and Spanish.

“I hope the show gets audiences to think about their relationships with their families and the struggles of pursuing the American dream,” he added.

General admission ticket prices are: adult, $15; senior (62+), $10; youth (high school and younger), $8; SFA faculty/staff, $8; non-SFA student, $8; and SFA student, $5. For ticketing information or to purchase tickets, visit the Fine Arts Box Office website or call (936) 468-6407. For information about the play, call (936) 468-4003 or visit the School of Theatre and Dance website