Adapting the Garcia Girls 

Another Bilingual Success at the Miracle

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HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS is a novel by Julia Alvarez that thousands and thousands of people have read. I am not one of those thousands, so I have no basis for comparing how the Miracle's theatrical telling of the tale of the four Garcia sisters stacks up to the novel.

I can tell you that the show's structure, a reverse chronology grouped by episodes from a journal kept by one of the sisters, is both effective and frustrating. Effective because it keeps the pacing brisk, and because watching the four Garcia girls move backwards through time, from US-assimilated adults to their childhood in the Dominican Republic, offers an unusual, occasionally enlightening perspective on their lives (as the play progresses, accents are not lost but acquired). Frustrating, because it boils each character down to a decisive episode, often having to do with sex, in a way that can feel narrow and reductive.

I can also tell you that the four actresses who play the Garcia sisters (Lauren Bair, Verónica Nuñez, Lara Kobrin, and Nicole Virginia Accuardi) lend a warmth and energy to each distinctly different sister; and that Third Floor refugee Melik Malkasian, who expertly plays a variety of characters, brings a silliness to the show that offsets its occasional self-seriousness. The show's only real off-note, in fact (mom-friendly sentimentality being a given), is that the set design—pages from the novel painted on the walls and the floor—is one of the ugliest things I've seen in a while.

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