On September 23rd in the heart of Boyle Heights, Casa 0101 opened Brown & Out, its first LGBTQ Latin@ short play festival showcasing ten scenes from different authors. It is produced by Miguel García and under the direction of Hector Rodríguez, Elizabeth Espinoza Otero and Corky Domínguez.
Opening the festival, “My perfect boyfriend” – a monologue written by Angela Cruz and performed by Julissa López in the role of Vicky – presents us with a girl describing how her perfect boyfriend came out of the closet to become her perfect gay friend.
“Gay Mex,” through the comedy, offers a very common situation where a gay latino must change his attitude and way of dressing to be accepted and to be able to enter a bar in a city that may as well be WeHo. Written by Miguel García and starring, among others, Jeremy Mascia, who steals the audience’s laughter.
One of the works I liked best, from the theatrical point of view, was written and directed by Hector Rodriguez and is, in my honest opinion, the smartest of all. “Manuel Labor” represents the double lives of a public figure (in this case a politician) and a gay immigrant. A surprise awaits the audience when the characters switch roles. The scene counts with stellar performances by Manuel Morales and Henry Alberto.
From the pen of Josefina López (author of, among others, “Real Woman Have Curves”) are two master works: “Coming out party” and “Doña Concepción”. The first, consists of a group of friends organizing a party and devising a plan to get out one of its members. The party does a 180, and ends with the main character being able to scream “I’m gay” and finally coming out of the closet.
“Doña Concepción” (brilliantly acted by Julissa López) tells the story of a widow who, although burdened by guilt, confesses to feeling happy that her husband has died. In the midst of the confession, she decides to come out to their children and grandchildren.
Rounding out the festival are “Strapp Diz” by Patricia Zamorano, “Gay Cholo Charm School,” “Butch Juice” and “Mayhem” by Miguel Garcia and “A writer & his history” by Ricardo Bracho.
In general, the works conveyed a great team effort. Some were more successful than others, reflecting the hard work of directors with experience. Others (despite being written by queer authors) unfortunately have the downfall of showcasing heterosexist stereotypes that we should stop perpetuating and that we cannot forget still exist in the LGBTQ Latin@ community.
Another notable detail is the complete absence of trans actors and actresses. This is quite disappointing as Los Angeles has a large community of trans Latin@s. Do their stories not deserve to be heard as well?
Nonetheless, Brown & Out is a spectacle worthy of support and we hope it will continue each year having a space for expression at Casa o1o1.
23 September 2011 to 9 October 2011
Little Casa 0101 Theater
2009 E. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Price: $15 General / $12 students y seniros / $10 residents of Boyle Heights