Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
The rambling kitchen-table comedy that is Mujeres en el Armorio (“Women in the Closet”) explores the relationship of two sisters, once estranged, now reunited, in one bleakly funny self-recriminating conversation. The title comes from a fundamental cultural misunderstanding: “‘In the closet’ is what they say in the U.S. when someone has a secret,” explains elder sister Nora (Ruth Jasiuk), soon after she arrives home to Uruguay for her first visit in 18 years. And Nora’s cluelessness about sexual politics is shared by sibling Sara (Nucky Walder), who spent a decade in jail for hiding a political dissident with whom she had shared but a fleeting connection. Inevitably, the secrets start leaching out seconds after Nora appears on the doorstep of the surprised Sara, arms laden with airport trinkets. Both women harbor resentments ready to be unleashed by the unhampered perspective of middle age and a bottle of good liquor. The suicide of a father, the madness of a mother, Sara’s prison years, and Nora’s unhappy family life wait to be hashed out, and hashed they are, with glee and gusto. Both actresses ably fill out the roles, drawn with obvious affection by playwright Eduardo Sarlos. Jasiuk’s frenzy of eye rolling and lip curling wouldn’t be out of place in an Almodóvar film; neither would her snappy crimson outfit. As the more stolid Sara, Walder turns in a thoughtful performance with its own quiet simmer. Tending to her kitchen (a well-manicured set by Horacio Quintanilla), Sara is as easy to imagine as a young firebrand as to accept as a beaten spinster reduced to picking up the underwear her upstairs neighbor insists on tossing out the window. But this talky production from Arlington-based, Spanish-language Teatro de la Luna, whose mission is to stage plays from Latin America, doesn’t translate well, literally. Technical problems with the headsets that provide simultaneous English at select performances often render the translators useless, and one of them seems intent on outacting the player she reads for, with the bizarre result of a competitive shouting match seeming to happen inside one’s head. Neda Ulaby