A Mexican Trilogy: An American Story Review - Three Tales in One

For the first time, Latino Theater Company resident playwright Evelina Fernandez’s award-winning trilogy, “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Charity” are presented together. The audience can choose to view the trilogy on two separate nights – or over the course of one day. This reviewer chose to see the trilogy in its entirety (with a $20 box lunch thrown in for the hungry). A Mexican Trilogy is an American story which has a little bit of everything – drama, comedy, music. It’s fascinating, magical, funny, and realistic – all at the same time.  The audience will laugh, cry, and hum along with oldies but goodies.

Evelina Fernandez and Olivia Cristina Delgado - Photo by Grettel Cortes

A MEXICAN TRILOGY is subtitled “An American Story” for a reason. This is the tale of the Morales family – but the Morales family story is really the Mexican “Everyman” story. A tale of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. in search of jobs and the economic wherewithal to support their families – whether those members came with them or stayed behind. Playwright Fernandez artfully weaves the joys, conflicts, and stresses that are true for all immigrants who leave the safety and comfort of their homeland to venture into the unknown.

Geoffrey Rivas, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Ella Saldana North, and Esperanza America - Photo by Grettel Cortes

A MEXICAN TRILOGY tells its tale by describing three separate times in the lives of the Morales family. Each pinpoints cultural clashes as family members adapt to historical events.

FAITH: Beginning in 1915 in Mexico, young Esperanza meets and marries Silvestre, the love of her life; and the two seek a better life in the U.S. They settle in Jerome, Arizona, where they have three daughters, introduced in 1940 as teenagers at the cusp of World War II. These first generation Mexican-American children have very different ideas about life and love than their parents do. And thereby hangs the tale as the Morales daughters spread their wings and dip their toes into American culture. After all, America is the country of their birth. And what do their old-fashioned parents know anyway?

Julio Macias, Ella Sandana North, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Xavi Moreno, and Esperanza America - Photo by Grettel Cortes

HOPE: Morales family life is picked up again in 1960. Everyone is 20 years older, but perhaps not that much wiser. Elena, one of the Morales daughters, and her husband Charlie have moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they are raising their second-generation Mexican-American children, now almost young adults.  All seems well on the surface, but Elena’s husband may be straying from the nest. And the kids are no longer dipping their toes into American culture. They have now dived in.

Olivia Cristina Delgado, Esperanza America, Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez, and Julio Macias - Photo by Grettel Cortes

CHARITY: The Morales family follows Elena’s daughter Gina and her husband Rudy, who have moved to Los Angeles. The time is 2005. Third-generation kids are struggling with identity issues as young Esperanza (now well up in years) drives them crazy. Enter a young relative fresh from Mexico, and things begin to unravel.

Sam Golzari, Esperanza America, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Ella Saldana North, Julio Macias, Kenneth Miles, and Ellington Lopez - Photo by Grettel Cortes

The casting of A MEXICAN TRILOGY is fluid. The same actors cover all three eras, switching from teenager to adult to middle-aged plus. This is an excellent opportunity for each of them to change roles and personas, and each of the cast members does an excellent job of making the change. Director Jose Luis Valenzuela has done a skilled job of helming this complex story, covering three generations and as many complications. Musical director Rosina Serrano keeps the mood through picking songs from each of these moments in time. Talented Francois-Pierre Couture’s scenic design keeps pace with the complex story by building a two-story stage. No portion of the stage goes unused. Lighting (Pablo Santiago), sound (John Zalewski), projections (Yee Eun Nam), and costumes (Carlos Brown) ably cover the 70 plus years of the play. The Latino Theater Company has chosen a highly diverse and complex set of three plays and does a yeoman’s job of bringing the story underlying each to life. This is a play about the stresses and benefits of immigrants learning to adapt to a new country, their children, and everyone’s need to still maintain a memory of where they came from. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out who’s who without a score card – but that goes with the territory.

A MEXICAN TRILOGY runs through October 9, 2016, with performances divided into Part A (Mexican Revolution to Cuban Missile Crisis) and Part B (assassination of JFK to death of Pope John Paul II). Part A is presented at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. Part B is presented at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 6 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $50 individually for Part A and Part B (with a combined A and B package for $90). The Tom Bradley Theater is located in the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. For information and reservations, call 213-489-0994 or go online at http://www.thelatc.org.         

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