The Mermaid Who Learned To Fly

Credit Jujube Photography

Credit Jujube Photography

Kyla Garcia’s The Mermaid Who Learned To Fly is a one-woman show that’s part autobiography, part fairy tale and part performance art. It tells the tail (sic) of Victoria Valentin, a starry eyed dreamer who yearns to be a writer. Like all good little girls, she works hard and is rewarded with honors in the idyllic world of education. But when she hits young adulthood, she hits a wall; she falls in love – twice.

Soon Victoria Valentin is torn between two lovers – one male, the other female – one stable, the other feral. Garcia reaches for all the right metaphors here, identifying her struggle with that of the mermaid, torn between two yearnings – one down to the sea, one up to the earth. This archetypal resonance gives the piece its dimension and theme as well as a rich language of imagery that fills the bare stage, along with a large cast of characters, all played by Garcia.

Garcia, who both writes and performs, is a delight. As she reenacts scenes from her past, characters she met along the way come to life: a brash but insightful New Jersey psychic; a not-so-insightful therapist; and even both of her lovers. Garcia’s comic timing is flawless, as are her acting chops. Her mother’s grief becomes as palpable as the tears steaming down her face. Garcia also performs movement sequences to her pre-recorded voice as an additional textural and expressive element.

The Mermaid Who Learned To Fly smacks of authenticity. Garcia doesn’t have to connect the dots because it’s all there waiting for us to discover in our own way. For me, being psychologically oriented, it was easy to see how this little girl, whose parents’ divorce sent her into her first round of therapy, ends up torn between a two lovers – a woman and a man. And it’s baffling why her inept therapist was unable to make that connection.

Victoria’s story is co-narrated by her Fairy, whose “heartbeat is tied to one human dreamer.” She operates much like a fairy godmother, watching over Victoria Valentin, but only allowed to reach out with help once in each lifetime. She roots for her dreamer, this girl whom she loves, as we root for this writer/performer whom we grow to love too. What her fairy encourages us to shout out mid-performance is clearly in evidence here: “Hey Victoria (Kyla) you’re supposed to be writing!” – and magically, she is!

The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly – By Kyla Garcia; directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson

WITH: Kyla Garcia (all characters)

Lighting by Jared Dager; sound by Sebastian Zetin; production stage manager, Christina Robinson, producer, Kyla Garcia,public relations, Jim Martyka; creative consultant, Kevin Kittle. Presented by the Hollywood Fringe Festival and Elephant Studio Theatre in association with Theatre Asylum 6320 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90038 (323) 962-1632 One Remaining Performance – Saturday 6/28 at 8:30PM Running time: 55 minutes

Sarah Tuft

Author: Sarah Tuft

Sarah is a writer for stage, TV and film. Her play 110 Stories has been performed at The Public Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Vineyard Theatre, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and Nate Holden Performing Arts Center by actors including Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, the late Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Edie Falco, the late James Gandolfini, Neil Patrick Harris, John Hawkes, Katie Holmes, Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon, Jeremy Piven, Susan Sarandon, John Turturro, Kathleen Turner and many others. Additional plays and one-acts include Awesome Big Somebody, Shoot Me, Laundry Day, True Hero and Me Tarzan with readings and workshops at 24 Hour Plays Readings at BAM, EST at Lexington, Naked Angels’ Tuesdays@9 and Makor Theatre. Her directing credits include The Eggnog Talking (Cherry Lane Theatre) Drama at the Point (Emerging Artists Theatre) and Mistress Syntax (Atlantic Theatre.) She’s written and directed short films Tide with Laurel Holloman (IFC, Hamptons Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, Lake Placid) and Closing Time with Callie Thorne (Clermont-Ferrand) as well as music videos (Kirtsy MacColl, Chris Whitley), TV promos and interstitials featuring Blythe Danner, Peter Bogdanovich, Parker Posey and others. Sarah is a member of Dramatists Guild, the founding member of DnA – a lab for directing actors - and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship recipient. 110 Stories is published by Playscripts. Sarah’s work is also included in the collection, Actor's Choice: Monologues for Women, Volume 2.

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