By: Annette Quijada
ELAC’s Theater Department mastered comedy in an encore presentation of their Spring 2021 production of “From the Works of John Leguizamo East Coast to East Los,” at El Centro del Sur, A Place Called Home’s inaugural Latinx Theater Festival.
The performance consists of eight monologues that were chosen from, and inspired by “The Works of John Leguizamo’s Freak, Spic-O-Rama, Mambo Mouth and Sexaholix.” Leguizamo’s work makes fun of Latino stereotypes in the United States.
Each actor in this performance aced their character in accordance with -the performances Leguizamo has made in the past. Actors had little to no contact with each other and had to audition and rehearse via Zoom and they still managed to perfectly portray their characters.
The performance starts with Saul Rodriguez who plays “Agamemnon,” a latino host of a live tv show, who sees himself as a lady killer, and oozes with machismo. Rodriguez is a great opener for the comedic rollercoaster the audience endures, for the next few monologues.
Other outstanding performances include Esperanza Bandera who plays “Loco Louie,” a 13 year-old boy describing his drama filled first sexual experience with a sex worker. Jasia Topete, playing “Manny the Fanny,” a transgender woman in that consoles her friend with an a abusive boyfriend. As well as Andrea Vidalia who plays, “Gladyz ” who wishes she’d followed her mothers advice when her husband Felix was first looking to date her.
Director Ramiro Segovia came up with the show when he was attending UCLA and was assigned to do a one-man show thesis. Segovia said he took a lot of what Leguizamo did with his one-man show. “He (Leguizamo) inspired me to write and create my own one-man show and I think for me that was the most rewarding experience as an actor.”
“As a cast, our real focus was to give dignity and honor to his (Leguizamo’s) work,” said Segovia.
This play is recommended for anyone who appreciates or has interest in stand up comedy. John Leguizamo’s “Mambo Mouth,” was first introduced in 1991, where the use of certain words and actions did not cause a lot of offense unlike today as sexual references and extreme stereotyping continue. Therefore, this play is not recommended for those who are sensitive towards these topics.
For those who missed out on the performance, it will be available in the A Place Called Home website (apch.org/elcentrodelsur) until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month.