Sunday, April 06, 2008

Our Dad Is In Atlantis

photo: Carel DiGrappa

The two pre-teen Mexican brothers who are this play's only characters are essentially abandoned by their father (whose poverty compels him to head into the States to find work) and left in the care of their strict grandmother. When she dies, they're sent off to an uncle who regards them as cheap labor and treats them even more shabbily. Finally, after reading their dad's letter postmarked from Atlanta (which the younger boy misreads, hence the play's title) the two summon the courage to run away and sneak across the border themselves. The play (by Javier Malpica) has obvious social relevance but isn't preachy: its distinction is that it maintains its focus, over the course of its ten vignettes that total less than ninety minutes, solely on the boys' conversations. There's a gentle poignancy in the boys' dynamic, as the younger brother's unrealistic expectations of America are at odds with what the older, wiser brother knows. The two young actors (Steven D. Garcia and Sergio Ferreira) are natural and have a credible fraternal chemistry together, but their job of carrying the entire play is made more difficult by uninteresting staging and a fundamental sameness to the play's vignettes: the characters go through a hell of a lot of change, but the characters are written to repeatedly respond to it in much the same ways.

No comments: