The LGBTQ family narrative rarely makes on stage. And while it is refreshing to see the occasional portrayal of a queer love stories in theatre venues throughout Los Angeles, the task of rendering stories of families headed by same-sex couples justice is one few theatres take on.
Company of Angels rendition of “blu,” written by Virginia Grise and directed by Laurie Carlos, quickly fashions itself a highly ambitious project by illustrating the elusive story of a same-sex couple (Soledad & Hailstorm) struggling to raise their three children (Blu, Gemini and Lunático) in an urban ghetto.
While the production effectively reproduces the anxiety of living in a neighborhood ravaged by crime and violence through an eclectic stage design, fragmented seating arrangement, and a non-linear narrative, the palpable chaos staged by the performers becomes a distraction of its own. Throughout the play characters walk around in circles on stage muttering indecipherable chatter in the background, making it difficult to understand the actor speaking center stage. Similarly, the casts’ body motions, even during attempts at synchronization, lack purpose.
A few noteworthy exceptions do shine through. Xavi Moreno, in his portrayal of Blu, delights the audience with his poetic spoken-word prowess. In addition, Romi Dias and Phillip García, in their roles of Soledad and Luna (respectively), bring to the stage a palpable sense of authenticity as their powerful emotion clash highlights Luna’s struggle with masculinity, his longing for his father, and desire of belonging to a heteronormative family structure.
“Blu” provides an invaluable service with its artistic and unconventional depiction of the inner-city struggles while opening the door for a more frank discussion of the queer familia.
Written by Virginia Grise
Directed by Laurie Carlos
Runs through November 13, 2011
Company of Angels at The Alexandria
501 S.Spring St., 3rd Floor.
Los Angeles, CA
Price: General $20 / Seniors $15 / Students $12