Guillermo Reyes’ play Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown is memorable, not only because of the name but for dealing with forward thinking issues back in the nineties when it was written. A compilation of monologues about a gay Latinos, immigrants living and loving in L.A. The current production of Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown being presented by Teatro de las Americas in association with Macha Theater and Armando Rey, is proof that this play truly stands the test of time. Tickets are available for all performances through June 25th
Actor Armando Rey is the man of the hour as he takes on the challenge of breathing life into eight separate characters. Rey gives a tour de force performance as he morphs into each role, delivering vivid characters each dealing with their own set of drama from cultural denial to AIDS.
We meet the Men On the Verge of A His-Panic Breakdown is a series of comedic monologues chronicling the lives of various Latino immigrants dealing with the transcultural shock of race and gender identity known as the “Hispanic breakdown.” The one man show is bookended by the misadventures of the naive Frederico or “The Gay Little Immigrant That Could” who arrives in Los Angeles during the first day of the 1992 riots and believes he’s witnessing the filming of another Lethal Weapon sequel. We meet Vinnie, a kept boy; Edward, a Latino actor passing for Anglo; the Demon Roommate, Paco, a Cuban restauranteur; the stuffy, sexually repressed English-language instructor; and La Gitana a drag Flamenco dancer.
For Rey having the opportunity to do Men On the Verge of A His-Panic Breakdown
is like coming full circle, it is truly “a dream come true” for him he says. Twenty years ago he picked up a copy of the play at Samuel French and was elated to read characters that reflected his reality. Although he had never seen the play, reading it impacted him so much he vowed that “one day I’m going to do this play”. In the interim, Rey etched out a successful career in the theater (Anna in the Tropics, 12 Angry Men
) and branching out into short films. But about five years ago he began actively working to finally getting the production off the ground, in the process becoming a theater producer. Eventually, someone directed him to Teatro de la Americas, a bilingual theatre company out of Oxnard who liked the play and produced it earlier this year. They then brought the production to Odalys Nanin, the Artistic director of Macha theater and that is how he found his way back to Los Angeles in the role(s) of his dreams.
James Donlon, who also directed Rey in the Oxnard production, direction is in fine order expertly guiding Rey in exploring and fleshing out each character, resulting in a funny, touching and fast paced audience pleaser allowed into the his-panic breakdown. The set is colorful and simple and the wardrobe, by costume designer Becky Hull, although minimal, adds her touch to the life of each colorful character.
Men On the Verge of A His-Panic Breakdown Runs for three more weekends Friday – Sunday until June 25th at the Macha Theatre, 1107 North Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069. For tickets CLICK HERE
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