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Latina rising: writer-director-star Odalys Nanin gets fresh with the ladies again in her new play.

"I'd play a prostitute or a maid. If [a Latina role] had any sort of good qualities to her, [she] would have a thick accent." So says Odalys Nanin, echoing the familiar lament of Latina actors in Los Angeles. "So I was getting a little frustrated."

That frustration led Nanin to write. Her first play, Love Struck, written with Marie Barrientos, is a passionate love story between two Latinas. The play "was a big hit. It was packed every night. And through that play I came out."

With the success of Love Struck and her newfound openness regarding her sexuality, Nanin continued to write and eventually founded Macha Theatre. "I formed my theater company because I wanted the stories I had to tell to be realistic, universal love stories," she says, "that can be about two women, two men, or a man and a woman. That became my drive."

In her new comedy, Beyond Love (at the Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood, Calif., through October 16), Nanin explores that universal love--between two Latinas who are soul mates but need an assist from Isis and an arrowless, drunken Cupid, known as "Tequila Cupid," to realize as much. "They have issues," laughs Nanin. "You might not be ready when you meet your soul mate. There are so many things that get in the way of being together on earth." When asked how someone would know if their partner is their soul mate, Nanin laughs again: "Baby, only your heart can tell you that."

Now that Beyond Love is firmly on the boards, Nanin is deep in development of a film version of her play Garbo's Cuban Lover. "I feel like this is my transition into film," she says. "This may be my last play, and I'll devote more time to my film projects."
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Title Annotation:THEATER
Author:Abley, Sean
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 11, 2005
Previous Article:Nondisappearing act.
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