Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’
American Dream: Sueño del Otro Lado: By Brad Erickson. Directed by Dennis Lickteig. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave., S.F. (415) 861-8972 or www.nctcsf.org.
Through September 15, 2013.
AMERICAN DREAM a worthy world premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center.
World premiere plays by emerging playwrights can be problematic for many reasons including the tedious process of multiple staged readings and allowing subsequent outside input to change text, construction and purpose. Brad Erickson’s American Dream: El Sueno del Otro Lado was developed by several groups, with staged readings at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC), and Winding Road Theatre Ensemble in Tucson. In its world premiere at NCTC there is a suggestion that it has been put together by committee.
As a political drama it covers the hot-button issues of gay marriage (the Defense of Marriage Act), immigration and personal policy-making agendas. As a love story with complications it is very touching if not believable due to plot twists that are questionable. These presumed flaw by this reviewer does not detract from the professional production and competent acting by the cast of seven.
Architect Tom (William Giammona) now divorced from Cara (Dana Zook) after 20 years of marriage due to his acknowledging that he is gay. They have a 16 year old daughter Julie (Katherine Roberts). Even though they are separated an enduring family bond exists and Dan’s minimal homosexual behavior is accepted. Complications arise when 42 year old Dan takes a trip to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and falls in love with Salvador (Ulises A. Toledo) his 28 year old Spanish teacher. In a 17 scene first act the Erickson builds layer on layer of dialog without action defining relationships between the major characters and introducing Minutemen border guards (Dale Albright and Justin Gillman) that express their general and specific reasons to keep out illegal immigrants from the U.S. In the characterization process he also explores the social attitudes of Mexicans toward homosexuality in general and the intense personal bonding of Dan and Salvador. In touching final first act scene, director Dennis Lickteig cleverly stages Cara down-stage right, Dan upstage center and Salvador mid-stage left expressing their individual love and angst.
In the year since the divorce Cara has become sexually but not emotionally involved with Richard (Jeffery Hoffman) an influential, politically astute Republican lawyer who for his own personal reasons concocts a scenario for Dan and Salvador to marry then sneak Salvador through the border fence out of Mexico. This leads to the only bit of action in the play and as staged is extremely dramatic.
The almost denouement that Erickson creates in the final scene is very touching with all the major characters on stage and each having their say. Accolades go to Giammona, Robbins, Toledo and Zook for their understated and understanding portrayals, to Justin Gillman for the ferocity of his diatribes and quiet republicanism of Jeffery Hoffman.
Lickeig’s deliberate pacing does not do justice to the script but his movement of the characters on the Kuo-Hao Lo’s ingenious surrealistic utilitarian set lighted by Christian Mejia is meritorious.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com
Will Giammona, Ulises Toledo