Around the Block/Al Doblar La Esquina

presents

La Manajata Bequixed

by Carlos Jerome

Directed by Gloria Zelaya

 

Theater at 64 East 4th Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan

Information: www.aroundtheblock.org

 

October 27 – November 14, 2010

 

Production Management R. DARIO CRUZ and CARLOS JEROME

Assistant Director R. DARIO CRUZ

Lighting Design and Management ALEX MOORE

Set Design KACIE HULTGREN

Sound Design and Management ALFREDO MARIN and R. DARIO CRUZ

Press Representative SCOTTI RHODES PUBLICITY

 

Photo by R. Dario Cruz; Pictured: Jeffrey Hernandez, Thomas Eddy Moran

 

Cast

Iris – Stephanie Garay

Juana (Juanita) Gutierrez – Illiam Carrillo

Youngblood – Jeffrey Hernandez

Valdo/Mr. Harris/Jethro – Barry Sacker

Bernie the Burner – Thomas Eddy Moran

Ron the Rod – Phillip Filiato

Mary (Candy) Turner – Thais Walsh

Haydee – Maria Teresa Silva

don Quick (Donald Saavedra?) – R. Dario Cruz

Sancho (Panza?) – Sam Gordon

Mama Juana Gutierrez – Xiomara Cintron

Teenage Juanita – Daisy Guevara

LA MANAJATA BEQUIXED is the product of Around the Block (ATB)/Al Doblar La Esquina, a local “not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultivating arts and technologies in urban communities, particularly lower income neighborhoods of New York City.” ATB involves local residents in the group’s programs, with a goal of developing artistic and/or technological expression without prerequisite experience.

With that said, the actual production of Carlos Jerome’s LA MANAJATA BEQUIXED is not the most polished piece of theater off-off-Broadway, but it is a production that is filled with enthusiastic performances and a narrative that seeks to convey the magical of the every day. Set in Hoboken, NJ in the 1990’s the play tells the story of a psychologist (Juanita) debating whether to support an impending strike, her childhood friend (Mary), searching for a professor who has mysteriously disappeared, and the various characters they encounter. Among the group, there are gangsters who threaten the locals, Juanita’s union organizer boyfriend, Sancho, a prime target for the gangsters, and a poetic stranger called don Quick, who Mary takes for her missing professor, but who clearly is, or believes he is don Quixote.

The magic never quite takes over enough to know if this don Quick is mad or something more supernatural, and the tone shifts from poetic to modern-day preachy, but overall the story is coherent and the action fluid. Juanita rediscovers, or has reignited for her, the passions of her youth, and the force behind the cause brings the community together. More important, however is that ATB provides a vehicle for the artists and technicians involved to tell stories about people from struggling communities by people who may be from struggling communities.

- Kessa De Santis -

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