Scribe Rodrigo Garcia has come a long way since he penned and helmed the film version of “Ten Tiny Love Stories” in 2001. He is a co-scripter of the Salma Hayek starrer “Frida,” has helmed several episodes of “Six Feet Under” and is currently in Gotham guiding an episode of the new season of “The Sopranos.” The legit preem of his earlier screenplay is being helmed by director/performing artist Luis Alfaro and features the talents of six accomplished Latinas. Ranging in length from three to 15 minutes, Garcia’s brief monologues of feminine romantic/sexual angst range from the trivial to the profound, but all ring true. “Ten Tiny Love Stories” is akin to Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and Jane Martin’s “Talking With…” Both of those works focused on individual stories that collectively laid bare women’s inner turmoil. In each of Garcia’s tales, he exudes compelling feminine veracity if not always riveting content — impressive for a man.
The “stories” are voiced by the sextet of Jacqueline Aries, Denise Blasor, Ivonne Coll, Maggie Palomo, Rose Portillo and Camilla Sanes under the empathetic guidance of Alfaro. The opening monologue features Portillo, who becomes emotionally unhinged when she surprisingly encounters old beau Martin while she is out with the man she has chosen to be her next bedmate. She is then perplexed to realize how vividly she can recall their sex life together.
The actual act of lovemaking continues to take focus in many of the tales. Aries offers a somewhat rambling but still compelling remembrance of her first sexual experience, recalled in vivid detail.
Portillo returns in a quirky tale of a woman who asks her ex- husband to go with her to euthanize the aged dog that was given to her during their marriage. When she and her ex find themselves reliving their conjugal past in a hotel room, she realizes that she is purposely being sexually inhibited because she doesn’t want him to realize how much she has learned since their separation.
Blasor offers a dark, emotionally chaotic recollection of resenting the fact she had to share her orgasm with her husband.
The sexual highlight of the evening is explored in Coll’s sadly provocative tale of promiscuity abroad as a tourist allows herself to be bedded by a Greek waiter whose dalliance is efficient and caring but leaves her totally devoid of personal connection to the act. It is haunting to witness her attempt to emotionally crawl into herself while still in the process of being physically connected to this man.
Not all the monologues deal directly with sex. Palomo offers a tender recollection of a woman who converses with an innocuous-looking man on a plane and comes to realize he is the only man she has ever met who knows how to love a woman totally. Later, Palomo offers an innocuous tale of a woman’s observations of a puppeteer who exhibits the sensitivity of a woman. Aries returns as a bitter, self-doubting loser who admits what she craves is the “potential of love,” not the actual relationship.
The least satisfying work of the evening is the final scene, featuring all six women in a tribute to a man named Roy, whom they all shared. It is a surprisingly sterile work that is not a fitting cap to an otherwise insightful, emotionally involving journey within the psyches of some memorable ladies.