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Theater

Cicero stage to offer free solo performance from 16th Street Theater of Berwyn

A free performance of Debbie Baños’ "Bell’s Palsy and Other American Side Effects" will be presented at Chodl Auditorium in Berwyn.
A free performance of Debbie Baños’ "Bell’s Palsy and Other American Side Effects" will be presented at Chodl Auditorium in Berwyn.

BERWYN – A free performance is offered by 16th Street Theater of Debbie Baños’ “Bell’s Palsy and Other American Side Effects” at 7 p.m. April 17 in Chodl Auditorium at Morton East High School in Cicero.

Underwritten by 16th Street’s 100 Club Members, the hour-long performance continues the 2019 Pop Up New Play Reading Series.

All are welcome, and a discussion will follow.

The Fourth of July always has been Baños’ second favorite holiday, right after Christmas. But what does the Fourth of July mean for this Salvadoran-American family? In a world full of fireworks, love and patriotism, the family finds itself fighting for Mami’s right to stay in this country.

Baños’ humorous and deeply personal story recounts her mother’s 25-year struggle moving through the immigration system in Arkansas. Despite legal, financial, emotional and health challenges, Debbie’s mother still insists on celebrating the Fourth of July – in style.

Already well-known on Chicago stages, Baños has performed with 16th Street, Victory Gardens Theater, Babes With Blades, Chicago Dramatists and many more. “Bell’s Palsy and Other American Side Effects,” previously developed with Chicago Theatre Marathon, is her first solo show.

“Debbie’s story is a world built by contrasts,” director Esteban Arévalo Ibáñez stated in the release. “There is hope, especially from her mother’s perspective, but there is also the ever present emotional and physical toll that reminds us about the price of her dream. By delving into her past, Debbie provides us with an opportunity to reflect and question the American Dream.”

The show’s dramaturg is Ryan Oliveira.

“I was excited to work with Debbie on ‘Bell’s Palsy’ as soon as I saw it performed at last year’s Chicago Theatre Marathon,” Oliveira stated in the release. “It captured many of the feelings I had guiding my own parents through immigration, and with my own parents pinning their American hopes on me.”

Reservations are not required.

If you go

WHAT: “Bell’s Palsy and Other American Side Effects”

WHEN: 7 p.m. April 17

WHERE: Chodl Auditorium at Morton East High School, 2423 S. Austin Blvd., Cicero

COST & INFO: Free show and parking; boxoffice@16thstreettheater.org, 708-795-6704, ext. 107; 16thstreettheater.org

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