Tuesday November 21st 2017

” Fade”

Attending Tanya  Saracho’s latest play, “Fade”, made me think of an old Woody Allen story. Seems that after college, he was hired to work for a Park Avenue firm that was said to be “anti-semetic”. His job- “to look Jewish”. Sounds easy, and one of his friends truly wanted to know about such a job. Woody said the job was indeed easy. In the morning he had to have a bagel/lox/and cream cheese sandwich on his desk and in the afternoon, a corned beef sandwich worked. Should there be a need for him to be there on a Sunday late afternoon/evening, the meal was Chinese. But, as Woody tells the story, after the first six months he was fired. Why, you might ask? For taking off to many Jewish holidays!”.

I tell you this to get to the concept of the new play, “Fade” in which Saracho details the story of a young writer, Lucia ( a glorious performance by Sari Sanchez) who has been hired as a television writer for a series, although she has never written material of this nature. Turns out, the network needs to bring on a Latina in a higher than cleaning girl capacity, and the boss also needs her to communicate with his maid at home. She feels like a fish out of water and after leaving her Chicago home to come to Los Angeles, with no friends, feels lost. Working late at night, she meets the maintenance man who does their office nightly, Abel (played to perfection by Eddie Martinez). Meeting him kind of brings her back to a comfort zone as she starts to communicate in Spanish.

He stops her, telling her that while he is Mexican, he is born and raised in America and prefers speaking English. They begin to bond and as the days lead into weeks and then to months, become friends. Friends who open up about their lives and dreams and aspirations. As she hears Abel’s ideas and stories, her brain begins to see that his life could be the plot twists that she needs to gain admission into what she calls “the boy’s club” (the other writers, all male on staff). Saracho, an experienced television writer herself, brings some of her experience to the table, for sure, but it is the depth in which she explores these two individuals that will capture the audience.

While it is a non-intermission production ( 98 minutes no-intermission) and there is only one set, her office (a great design for this small space designed by  Regina Garcia) the play is broken down into many scenes. The time span is shown to its best thru the myriad of costume changes on the part of Ms Sanchez (there could have been a few more). The costumes by Christine Pascual are just right, Jesse Klug’s lighting and Victorio Delorio’s sound along with the great props by Mealah Heidenreich and Alec Long, wonderful. There are some musical interludes between scenes with music that is very fitting of the mood swings that Saracho has created for her characters.

Great writing and performances are very important to a play like this, but trust me, without a director with the heart to truly understand the characters and their personalities, it would never be pulled off. Victory Gardens and Teatro Vista have such a director- Sandra Marquez. Every little detail of these characters is touched by this talented director who is also an actress (of the highest caliber) and an educator. When our two characters meet, they are very different. As we get to know them, and they each other, they become closer, almost friends. In the very beginning, Abel refers to Lucia as “different” from him. A person who is above the “Mexicans” that most of America recognizes (the waiters, bus boys, landscapers etc). She says no. As the story unfolds, she changes. And by the way, so does he.

“Fade” will continue at Victory Gardens/Biograph Theater’s Richard Christiansen Stage (upstairs)  at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue through December 23rd with performances as follows:

Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays  3 p.m.

Tickets range from $15- $56 and are available at the box office, by calling 773-871-3000 or online at www.victorygardens.org

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES:

Post show conversation with Tanya y Sandra  11/11 at 9:30 p.m.

College Night  11/16  9:30 p.m.

Shades of Fade  12/1  5:30 p.m. Pre-show discussion of some of the things that will be touched upon

Enter the writers room _OFF NIGHT 12/4  at 6:30 p.m. *

Noche Victoria  12/8  9:30 p.m.

Post and pre-show discussions are free for ticketed patrons and OFF NIGHT is free as well, but limited seating.

Word for word  11/17, 11/18 at 3 p.m. and 11/22 at 2 p.m.

ASL  11/17

Audio Description/touch tour  11/17 (touch at 6 .m.)  11/26 touch tour at 1:30 p.m.

There is valet parking at the theater ($13) and metered and non-metered street parking is available, but residential zones apply.

 

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Fade”! You will be glad you did!

 

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