Monday, January 18, 2010

Underdog Productions: In This House Solamente Español (reviews)

Underdog Productions opened In this House Solament Español on January 14 at Barry University's Pelican Theatre. It features two plays written and performed by Chris Perez and Elena Maria Garcia.
...a journey of two stories about generational clashes. Flying Lessons takes you on a journey through a father's mind as he confronts the memory he refuses to accept. Do You Speak Mexican shoves you into the back of a 1978 stage wagon with the windows barely cracked, full of homemade styling gaucho, Farah Fawcett- do and a freak's perspective of what if feels like to get your ass kicked just because you pronounce your "foreign" name correctly in that land far away called,...Broward.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Minimally produced, with just a few chairs, simple lighting and snippets of music to help with the storytelling, both shows depend on the actor-authors' ability to make the audience see -- and more importantly, feel -- the joys and challenges of forging a new life in South Florida of the not-too-distant past.
Perez's Flying Lessons is the better crafted piece, a play born more of imagination than pure autobiography.
Under Garcia's direction, Perez performs Flying Lessons with both bombast and restraint, a dramatically effective combination.
Do You Speak Mexican?, directed by Gail Garrisan, is Garcia's keenly observed but far less polished play about the ongoing cultural trauma she endured after her family relocated from Miami-Dade County to Broward when she was a kid.
Though much of Do You Speak Mexican? is fun to watch -- Garcia is an always-energetic performer who slips effortlessly into both sides of a conversation with her cooking-obsessed mother and her wounded younger self -- the play needs more cutting and shaping, more sharpening of the message underneath the laughs.
Underdog Productions presents In this House Solament Espanol through January 30 at Barry University's Pelican Theatre.

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