LOGAN SQUARE — A Latina comedy group is taking over Hairpin Arts Center this weekend for El Día de los Muertos, honoring people who died from COVID-19 and Latine essential workers through improv shows, altars and an artisan market.
“Calaveras y Corazón,” an “immersive” live show from Ratas De Dos Patas, is set for 8-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Hairpin, 2810 N. Milwaukee Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the option to participate in community ofrendas, or altars, and buy crafts, food and drinks from a market of Latine vendors.
Tickets are $15 and can be bought online.
Ratas De Dos Patas, a group of four Latina artists, will perform improv at 8 p.m. each night. The first half of the show will highlight Latine essential workers who died from COVID-19. For the second half, the performers will interview audience members about loved ones they’ve lost and build improv sets around those people.
It’s the third El Día de los Muertos show for Ratas De Dos Patas since 2018. But this year’s show carries deeper meaning because of the pandemic, group members said. The public health crisis has hit Chicago’s Latine community hard, both through deaths and economic challenges.
The show is a way to process that grief and celebrate “the joy of resilience,” group member Marilet Martinez said.
“We have been through so much of just being frontline workers, being those people who did not have the luxury of staying home, being people in underprivileged communities who didn’t have access to vaccines and medical care and living in food deserts,” group member Jessi Realzola said. “This is a celebration of us thriving, always growing … despite what’s around us.”
Ratas De Dos Patas — Martinez, Realzola, Kendra Jamaica and Abigail Piñon — has performed everywhere from the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival to the Baton Rouge Improv Fest since launching in 2018.
The collective put on “Calaveras y Corazón” at Annoyance Theater in Lakeview in 2018 and 2019, but it was forced to skip last year’s event because of the pandemic.
Realzola said they were drawn to Hairpin Arts Center this time around because it’s a “centralized place for Latine community members to get to.” This year’s show will feature Luis Roberto Castelló as La Catrina, an icon of El Día de los Muertos.
The event also aims to uplift Latine-owned businesses. Cervecería Cruz Blanca, Sweet Geek Pastry, AngMir and Yum Pilsen are among the vendors slated to participate in the market, which will be held before and after the improv shows.
Martinez said they hope audience members leave feeling more connected to each other and compelled to make an impact in their community. El Día de los Muertos is as much a celebration of life as it is a way to honor departed loved ones.
“We’re just very excited for the community to come out and have a moment of celebration … just for having made it this far, and being able to acknowledge what has happened, but also take a moment in pride of our resilience and drive to keep pushing forward,” Realzola said.
For Ratas De Dos Patas’ comedy videos, visit the group’s YouTube channel.
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