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ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre re-enacts Mexico’s golden age of cinema with the award-winning Orchids in the Moonlight

Katherine Roll Lang plays Dolores del Rio in the Herberger Mainstage Theatre production of Orchids in the Moonlight.
Photo by Tim Trumble.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

September 21, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. - The ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre season kicks off Oct. 7 with Carlos Fuentes' poetic 1981 masterpiece, Orchids in the Moonlight, winner of the Mexican National Award for LiteratureBased on Mexico's golden age of cinema, Orchids' main characters are classic actresses of 1940s Mexican, American and European films - María Félix and Dolores del Río - who revisit their starring roles in exploration of their true identities.

First produced in 1982, Orchids in the Moonlight is taken from the title of the classic song from the film Flying Down to Rio. The play is set in an apartment in Venice, Calif. where the actresses are attended by Nubian slaves and serenaded by the music of Jorge Negrete. One of Fuentes' few plays, it is a classic example of his expertise in the realm of magical realism.

In this story "actors impersonate actors who impersonate actors," says Director Oscar Giner, a theatre professor in the Herberger College of Fine Arts. "The layers provide a wonderful range of perception and being."

Orchids will feature an art deco architectural set designed by Jeff Thomson and 1940s fashion costumes by Connie Furr-Soloman. Film clips from the Mexican-themed classics Flying Down to RioBird of ParadiseDoña Diabla and others will be shown.

"This production is an experiment in how great design affects an actor's performance," says Giner. "It's a point in space where ocean, moon, night and dreams gather in vision."

Tickets for Orchids in the Moonlight are $5-$20 and available online at or through the Herberger College Box Office, 480-965-6447. Show times are 7:30 p.m., Oct. 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22; and 2 p.m., Oct. 9 and 16; at the Lyceum Theatre, 901. S. Forest Mall, on ASU's Tempe Campus.

The Herberger College Department of Theatre production program moves the art of theatre into the future with student production opportunities; curricula; and professional productions that enrich the cultural life of the university, the community and the region. For more information, go to

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay