Saturday February 24th 2018

“Amarillo” a part of the Destino program

 

We are blessed! That is what I would have to call the program that Chicago is involved in as part of the inaugural Chicago International Latino Theater Festival- Destinos.In addition to the plays, fully cast and solo performances, we are also seeing what I would have to call “performance Art” and what is now on the stage (let me say, the NEW stage) at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, “Amarillo” , is an incredible work of art. Unlike many performance art pieces, “Amarillo’s story is one that is of great importance in today’s world. It is a story of immigration and the dreams of many Mexicans who only want what our forefathers came to the United States for: better lives, more comforts, safety and health.

The new stage, The Yard, that has been constructed in the area that used to house the skylight outdoor stage, is designed very much like the smaller theater at The Goodman- a black box, with several tiers for spectators ( I think they placed too much space between levels, which takes the audience to new heights). It is a comfortable venue and based on this show, should give the CST even more opportunities to fill the parking garage at Navy Pier. “Amarillo” is done in Spanish with projected English translation. It was very easy to follow, so do not let this be a deterrent in attending your opportunity to see a major story told with style and grace.

 

Directed by Jorge A. Vargas and devised by Mexico’s Teatro Linea de Sombra, “Amarillo” tells the story of a man (a wonderful performance by Jesus Cuevas) who represents “anyman”, departs from Mexico for his land of dreams, “Amarillo, Texas”. He tells us of his dreams, which is more than just his dream, but in fact the dream of many men (and women) who want a better life and in many cases, face the “coyote” (not the animal, but in fact, the police or authorities who take their money and their belongings as well as their pride from them.

A group of women help tell this story with one leading the way, reconstructing that trip- not only for this man, but the countless, faceless men (and women) who leave their homes and families behind, hoping to start a new life in the wonderful United States and either bring their families to join them or save enough to go back and live a better life in Mexico. The production is a mix of performance art, music, projections and lighting effects and techniques that during the 78 minutes will hold you spellbound.

The ensemble is powerful as well. Antigona Gonzales, Alicia Laguna, Maria Luna and Visney Salina. The technical aspects of this production are all a work of art in itself. In the beginning, as we see this man’s story unfold, we watch them packaging up the remains of the Jane and John Does that are found in the desert. This is part of the story, a very sad part. Dreams are what we all have-

Each day we hear our President talk about building a wall so that the Mexicans cannot come to our country and take jobs away from Americans. Let’s be honest. The jobs that these migrants take are jobs that NONE of our Americans want or would even consider. Working in the fields and on the farms! Landscaping! The lowest of the factory laborer positions! Restaurant and hotel industry, again at the lowest level. They want nothing from us, except the opportunity to live a better life than what is offered to them in Mexico. Is that too much to ask?

 

This work is a thing of beauty and despite it being short in length, it is worthwhile to go to Navy Pier to see and feel (yes, you will feel it thru the storytelling techniques used and the amazing soundscapes, making this a theatrical experience that will ring in your mind for some time to come). “Amarillo” will continue at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare thru October 29th with performances as follows:

 

Tuesdays  8 p.m.

Wednesdays  8 p.m.

Thursdays  8 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturday  2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Sundays  2:30 p.m.

Special 10:30 a.m. Thursday 10/29

Tickets are general admission  $25 and can be purchased by calling 312-595-5600 or visiting www.chicagoshakes.com/Amarillo

There are great places to dine at Navy Pier and discounted parking in the garage if you bring the ticket for validation. Public transportation is available as well.

 

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Amarillo”.

To see the entire schedule of the presentations that are still available visit www.clata.org

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