Sunday, April 06, 2008

Our Dad is in Atlantis

Photo/Carel DiGrappa

While I admire Working Theater's goal to shed some light on the consequences of immigration in the working class -- Javier Malpica's Our Dad is in Atlantis focuses on two brothers left behind in Mexico -- this play sinks faster than Atlantis itself. The presentation is unimaginative, the translation is flat and repetitious, and the direction is so restrained that it stifles any life the young actors (10 and 12) might have. Come to think of it, the play itself isn't that good: Malpica doesn't follow through on the struggle of these two brothers; instead, he just strings together a series of vignettes about "stuff" and leaves all the real drama -- their abandonment, the death of their grandmother, their violent interactions with so-called friends -- on the side. The first scene establishes the likeable relation between the whiny younger brother and the steely attempts of the older brother to be a man, but each successive scene is just more of the same. Having an adult character would've helped to give some perspective -- additionally, having a more plausible ending would've helped to give the show some closure; as is, the play is just a lot of empty talk.

[Read on]

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