Review: ‘His-Panic Breakdown’

Posted on 16 Aug 2013 at 10:00am

Edgar-ed
Political pundits who grouse about stereotyping entire communities like to say there’s not one “Latino experience.” If they needed anthropoligical evidence, they could look to Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown. The author, Guillermo Reyes, has given all the characters a few commonalities: All are men, all are gay, all are Latino (from Cuba to Spain to Mexico).

From there, he explores the varied experience — but also finds some unity in those differences.

Comprised of nine monologues, with four actors portraying seven characters, there’s a little bit of something for everyone — especially some hearty laughs.

There’s Federico (Chris Ramirez), the twinky newcomer who believed all the lies told to him online and by spring breakers who said, “If you’re ever in L.A., look me up!” There’s the right-wing former torturer (Jose Quinones) who moved from Chile to Burbank but hasn’t lost his hatred for humanity. There’s the closeted ESL teacher (Armando Monsivais) who leers at his students and insults them because they don’t understand what he’s saying. There’s the aging boy-toy (Edgar Estrada, pictured) who’s tossed aside by his sugar daddy for the newest model of sexually available immigrant.

The play has a bitingly wicked view of the paradox of being gay while also coming from “traditional” families (more than a few of the characters are Republicans), and the best of the segments — usually the ones performed by Quinones, who has the best comic timing in the lot — leave you aching from belly laughs. The production, while low-budget with a simple set, doesn’t need a lot of flash to make its point. It’s enough that it shows the gay Hispanic experience is not one experience but a quirky, diverse and occasional sad amalgam — what we just call life.

Arnold Wayne Jones

Teatro Dallas
1331 Record Crossing Road.
Through Aug. 31.
214-433-8181.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 16, 2013.

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