First off, the last thing a mom should ask a nineteen-year-old young man hell-bent on joining the Marines in response to the 9/11 attacks is, “What do you know about how the world works?” And she certainly shouldn’t ask it with a world-weary air, making it clear that she is the one in the room who knows such things. Another suggestion: don’t follow it up by telling him, “You have such a limited understanding of these things.”
But that’s just real-world advice. For an opening scene in Melinda Lopez’s play, Sonia Flew, at Wellesley Repertory Theatre through June 25, an exhibition of such motherly disdain is the perfect way to set a tone of conflict and move the action forward. As the Elliot Norton Award-winning play opens, Sonia (Mariela Lopez-Ponce, on the edge of a nervous breakdown), Zak’s mom, has conveniently forgotten that in her early 1960s teenage past, becoming involved with Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution seemed like the perfect antidote to her controlling parents, a way to provide her life with purpose and and a sense of being part of something bigger than herself. The adult Sonia never sees — or refuses to see — the parallels between her former teenage self, ready to join the Revolution, and her current teenage son, on a fast-track to the Marines as his way of avenging the 9/11 attacks.