Laughs in Spanish at Coral Gables is oh-so Miami

Mariana Mondragon, Gaby Tortoledo, Magali Trench Photo by Magnus Stark

By Raquel V. Reyes

Laughs in Spanish is like a Friday night in Wynwood without the next day’s hangover.

The one-act play by Alexis Scheer, Laughs in Spanish is making its Florida premiere at GableStage through June 23. The “all Miami creative team” is led by director Victoria Collado and features paintings by local artist Didi Contreras.

No Spanish required, pero there will be plenty of Miami-isms during Laughs in Spanish.

The play begins with a security alarm’s strobe light, followed by high-volume expletives. Gallerist Mariana has just discovered the walls of Studio Six are bare. All the artwork has been stolen the morning of opening night.

It’s Art Basel week in Miami and that’s high stakes for galleries and artists. Raucous panic and finger-pointing ensues. Intern Caro has an alibi. It’s her police officer boyfriend, Juan. Officer Juan assures Mariana he is on the case. But to salvage opening night, she could use Caro’s art.
 From there, the plot twists and turns with occasional EDM dance breaks in this fast-paced comedy.

Magali Trench, Marcela Paguaga, Gaby Tortoledo, William Guevara and Mariana Mondrago Photo by Magnus Stark

The talented cast was well-rehearsed, but many one-liners and culturally specific references didn’t get their anticipated responses from the audience. This production benefits from a loose and comfortable audience ready to laugh, clap, and bop along to the DJ’s musical mixes. (This, sadly, was not the case on the day this reviewer saw it, but the potential for hilarity was there.)

Each of the five main actors had their own standout performance or scene. Mariana Mondragón convincingly plays the tightly wound gallerist. William Guevara’s Juan is charming, lovable, and a very Miami papi.

Gaby Tortoledo is perfect in the role of screen star Estella, Mariana’s mother. Magali Trench is a natural as Estella’s belabored phone-in-each-hand assistant, Jenny. And Marcela Paguaga sparkles as Caro.

Marcela Paguaga, William Guevara Photo by Magnus Stark

It is worth noting that there is an educational talk in the breezeway outside the theater before the doors open. The talk covers some Wynwood history and mentions the playwright’s childhood connection to GableStage.

There is also a “by donation” wine and nosh bar, so bring cash if you’d like to enjoy a beverage.

Laughs in Spanish is a splice of Miami Art Week highlife.

The 80-minute running time passes with head-spinning rapidity. The story, packed with details and multi-layered character threads, stays out of the deep end as a comedy should. It is light and fun. It is quintessential Miami. This production is a great night out for generations X, Y, and Z. It will entertain locals and visitors alike.

Raquel V. Reyes is the author of the award-winning Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. Her latest novel is Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal. Find her across social media as @LatinaSleuths and at 

Laughs in Spanish runs through June 23 at GableStage, in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-445-1119 or visit for tickets. Running time about 80 minutes without an intermission. Tickets range from $30 to $75. Streaming is available.



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