Alanna Ubach found inspiration for Yolanda Rodríguez, the narrator of her ongoing one-woman show, “Patriotic Bitch,” in an interaction with a bathroom attendant.
“The woman was there, she had a paper towel and I said, ‘You look like Frida Kahlo,’” recalls Ubach, 32, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry. “She said, ‘¿Qué?’ [What?]”
“I gave her a $5 tip,” Ubach recalls. “A couple of hours later, I came back, those same $5 were still there. People just totally ignored her.”
A couple of months later, Ubach, who was raised in a predominantly Latino suburb of Los Angeles, enrolled in an American poetry class at UCLA and the bathroom attendant was there.
“She looked at me and said, ‘Eh ah — Frida Kahlo. . . .’ I was like, ‘Well I’ll be a son of a bitch,’” says Ubach. “It just reminded me, no, we’re not digits, we’re not expendable. Everyone wants to better themselves. That’s the theme of the play.”
In “Patriotic Bitch,” which runs through June 29 at the Clurman Theatre in Theater Row, 410 W. 42nd St., Ubach plays seven characters from different incomes and ethnic backgrounds.
They are all introduced by Rodríguez, a sweet undocumented Mexican who at night hands out paper towels in a fancy L.A. hotel and during the day hawks T-shirts with American flags outside Dodger Stadium.
“I wanted to write a show that showed all of these women connected to each other,” says Ubach, who is also the playwright.
The characters run the gamut: There’s the fitness expert, with a heavy country accent, obsessed with a workout that sounds like slang for vagina in Spanish; the middle-age African-American who is a contestant on “American Idol”; a vicious and hilarious TV pundit named Jackie Queen, her daughter, a privileged white girl and her Muslim best friend, who reluctantly goes to a Christian confessional.
The inspiration for the show’s name came from an angry ex-boyfriend who suggested it after seeing a woman selling flags on the street.
Ubach appeared in the movie “Waiting,” in which she played a waitress who periodically went on foulmouthed tirades. She co-starred with Reese Witherspoon in the first two “Legally Blonde” movies and was also the maid who devirginized Ben Stiller’s character in “Meet the Fockers.”
Theatergoers at a recent show welcomed Ubach’s energetic performance, which marks her New York debut.
“She’s brilliant, creative. . . . a gifted actress,” said Norman Berg, 60.
His friend, Don Boitano, agreed. “She reminds me of a young Lily Tomlin,” he said. “A load of talent. She should have her own HBO special.”
Source: NY Daily News