Playwright competition winner “Eros in Veracruz” premieres

EAST CAMPUS — As the lights gradually illuminate the stage of the Black Box Theater, an average hotel room comes into focus, setting the stage for a night of intrigue, romance and disparity.

“Eros in Veracruz” was written by Orlando playwright Jack Mcgrath and performed by a cast of Valencia performing arts students, led by director Julia Gagne. Mcgrath was the winner of the 22nd Annual Florida Playwright Competition and this performance marks the world premiere of “Eros.”

Taking place in the tumultuous towns of Veracruz and Ciudad, Mexico, the plot follows the protagonist Danny’s search for his long lost father and the fight for his one true love. In a world controlled by drug cartels and gang violence, Danny’s search is certain to be an adventure.

Upon arriving in Veracruz, Danny connects with his childhood friend and cousin, Angel. A lover of good times and fast living, Angel urges Danny to immerse himself in the local nightlife.

After rescuing the beautiful Mariposa from the clutches of a violent drug dealer, Danny finds himself caught up in a turbulent love affair with a woman whose beauty is matched only by her complexity.

As Danny helps Mariposa to rest on his hotel bed, he discovers something that will shape the entirety of his remaining journey, a kilo of cocaine. While leaving Manuel, a local Cartel member, Mariposa had stolen his cocaine absentmindedly while wearing his leather jacket. Soon after, Angel bursts into the room and urges Mariposa to leave. Having grown up with Mariposa, Angel knows all too well the danger she poses to the young millionaire, Danny.

Despite the danger, the two seek out a life together away from the cartels.

While attempting their escape the two are separated, and begin the trek down their final paths. Having been captured by Cartel leader Carlos while attempting to flee into the US, Mariposa is once again caught in the grasp of the Cartel. Undeterred by the danger, Danny seeks to rescue his love from the grasp of certain death, no matter what the cost.

“Eros in Veracruz” is a stunning play because the story it depicts is one all too familiar to the Mexican people. Because of the high demand for narcotics and the predominantly poor population, drug cartels have become increasingly powerful in the Mexican community.

Offering quick money to a desperate population allows the cartels to roam free and manipulate all forms of trade and life as seen in the intrepid love of Danny and Mariposa.

“This was my first time acting and I enjoyed it very much,” said Shary Martinez, who played Mariposa.

As a mother and aspiring dental hygienist, Martinez has defined herself as a versatile young actress.

“Danny was searching for belonging while looking for his father in Veracruz. But after he met Mariposa, everything changed,” said Zachary Lane, who portrayed Danny.

As this story is told again and again, the struggle to overcome the power of the Cartel is matched by only one thing, the power of love.

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