AP Spanish Students See La Gringa


Entrance to Repertorio Español (NYC)

Yuri Han, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Senora Kim’s AP Spanish Language class took a trip to Puerto Rico, but they didn’t fly there. Puerto Rico came to them when the curtain opened at Repertorio Español.

The class attended La Gringa, an off-broadway show written by Carmen Rivera and directed by Rene Buch that follows the story of a young woman who travels from NYC to Puerto Rico to meet her family and discovers the true meaning of being a Puerto Rican. At Repertorio Español, audiences across the country can experience the best of Latin American, Spanish, and Hispanic-American productions. The entire show is presented in Spanish and translated in English for those in the audience that request translation. Kim’s class, unsurprisingly, watched the show without translation.

“Not only is the play’s topic of cultural identity aligned with College Board’s AP Spanish course topics, but it also enhances the students’ knowledge of literature. Bringing them to the theater also engages them in a more profound way than a movie could,” said Kim. “The play is meant to help students appreciate different cultures and how different cultures can come together in the quest of finding one’s identity.”

The play is meant to help students appreciate different cultures and how different cultures can come together in the quest of finding one’s identity.

— Señora Kim

The term gringo is often a derogatory Spanish term for a person, especially an American, who is not Hispanic or Latino. The title of the production, La Gringa (the feminine form of gringo) captured the students’ attention right away. “When I visited Cuba, sometimes I would try to speak in Spanish, but the people there would often respond in English,” said Tamar Vidra (’18) when responding to the play’s title. “So I felt that they were better in speaking English than I was in speaking Spanish. I think they definitely knew I wasn’t from there. Regardless, the people were welcoming and embracing.”

As most school field trips go, the AP Spanish students had an assignment based on their experiences watching La Gringa. “The assignment for the students will be a reflection paper,” said Kim. “The day after the play, the students will use what they learned through the play and talk about how a person deals with the conflicting of different cultures in class.”

For several years, it has been a tradition among the AP Spanish classes to take a class field trip to a Spanish-speaking restaurant in NYC, where students have had the chance to order food in Spanish and immerse themselves in the culture. It isn’t confirmed whether La Gringa has replaced that trip for this year, but the students enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

“It was cool to experience the culture outside the classroom,” said Ben Lauring (’18).

“It was nice to see the play without subtitles and to see how much we’ve learned to understand the Spanish language,” said Danielle Twiss (’18). “The play was really great, it really made you think about cultural identity.”