In Teatro Vista’s one man play, “Where Did We Sit on the Bus,” writer and performer Brian Quijada covers a broad array of issues about the Latino-American experience through his own biography: mixed marriages and their progeny, contemporary political xenophobia, the experience of immigrants, and growing up as a second generation American, and American-Latino American’s identity, especially in the context of our shared historical narrative regarding the civil rights movement and racial progress.
The play is almost entirely the work of Brian Quijada, who wrote the script, obviously based on his own life, performs in the play, and did the sound design-much of which consists of him speaking or in something between a Bobby Kennedy like staccato and rap music, albeit of the high-brow, meaningful variety, and I enjoyed every minute of the performance even though I generally find rap entirely, of whatever kind, entirely unpalatable.
While most of the play traces Quijada’s biography from his time in the womb through his strange education in elementary school; his friendship with affluent white student’s in middle school; and as he grows older his constant conflict with his Dad over his desire to be a professional musician rather than a bilingual doctor or lawyer; his time in college, his first performances; his engagement; and his honeymoon, some of the most moving stories land comical where the one’s told by other characcters who Quijada inhabits well, particularly the heart rending story of his father’s flight from El Salvador, perhaps even better than in the narration of his own story which is in itself extremely impressive.
Director Chay directs Quijada well, moving him effectively round the stage, and clearly was able to work in conjunction with the actor to bring the various settings off his play, (an apartment, a beach, a classroom, his house, a school cafeteria, and a posh Jewish home to life) all with very minimal props. In addition, Diane A. Fairechild providing some intense lighting that, like Quijata’s American identity is hard to define, it was neither disco, nor strobe, but intense and flashing with dots as you might find on a dance floor, but more theatrical and less practical (I doubt it could actually be used on a dance floor). 90 minutes, no intermission,
” Where Did We Sit on the Bus? “is showing at the storefront theatre, located at 66 East Randolph Street (between Michigan Avenue and Wabash) through April 10th 2016, located at Randolph Street Chicago. Performances are :
Thursday’s through Saturdays at 7:30
Sunday’s at 3:pm.
Regular Tickets are $15. Tickets for Students and Seniors (65+) are $12 with a valid ID. They can be purchased at all HotTix locations or by visiting teatrovista.org. More information about the play can be found at www.teatrovista.org
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Where Did We Sit On the Bus?”