LOS ANGELES -- A brand-new version of Guillermo Reyes' Men on the Verge of a Hispanic Breakdown will be seen at Highways Performance Space for 5 weekends in December and January.
Winner of the 1994 L.A. Ovation Award -- and the Emerging Playwright Award -- the play returns to Highways for a limited run before going on to San Diego and Phoenix.
"Latino men battle immigration, identity issues, Hollywood roles, sugar daddies and sexual identity in this riotous collection of monologues," said a company spokesperson. "Formerly a one-man show, the play has been revised and now is a three-character work."
Felix A. Pire, who performed the show in its Off-Broadway incarnation, told Playbill On-Line (June 1997) that the show centers on the gay immigrant experience, but its issues are more about immigrant struggles than gay themes. "It's about people who feel alienated, outside the norm," Pire said. "The characters are high-strung , fast-paced neurotic people such as the one who carries us through the play, Federico. He's a young, naive Latino immigrant knocking on the doors of people who said they'd help him out once he got to this country. Of course, now that he's here... Anyway, Federico lands in L.A. -- on the day of the riots. But he thinks it's a big Hollywood movie set. Another character came to Los Angeles to be an actor and changed his name from Eduardo Troncos to Edward Thornhill III to get parts. The first role he gets, they want a Latino -- and they're worried he's not Hispanic enough." Other, more serious roles include a West Village kept-boy being kicked out by his sugar daddy, and a high strung ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher who peppers his teaching of immigrants (audience members) with thinly veiled insults.
Performance dates in L.A. are Dec 18-20, 26- 27, Jan. 2-3, 7-10 & 14-17, 1999 at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $15. Call (213) 660-8587. Other end-of-year shows at Highways include Solstice Sweat (Sun. Dec. 13 at 8.30 PM) and Have a Billie Holiday! (Dec. 14 at 8.30 PM).
Highways is at 1651 18th St., Santa Monica.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent