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Latin Sensation

Jorge Martinez Photography

The most difficult task for those wanting to attend Martice Enterprise's production of Rick Najera's Latinologues: A Comedy Without Borders may not be finding the pocket change to cover the $12 ticket. Nor will it be locating the Wilson Carriage House, the unconventional venue being used for the first half of the play's run. Instead, the hardest part--if past performances set a precedent--will be allowing themselves to drop their inhibitions and laugh openly at the stereotypes and satires unfolding without compromise onstage.

Latinologues is Najera's cabaret of songs and sketches about living la vida Latina in America, but the jokes take aim at non-Hispanic targets as well. Two of the most infamous involve Japanese-Americans in World War II internment camps and Martin Luther King Jr. being inspired to write his "I Have a Dream" speech by a bucket of KFC. The cast of characters--created by Najera to showcase Latino comic talent--includes a gang member, a closeted actor, a cable access host with a love-hate relationship to machismo, a Cuban prostitute, a conflicted border patrolman and the Mexican Moses, who would lead his people to the promised land, mop and bucket in hand, if only they could pick one single promised land.

At last year's always envelope-pushing Festival of Independent Theaters, Cara Mia Theatre's production of Latinologues was named the most daring production, described as a play that "takes some corrosive loads of bigotry and sprays them at the audience like seltzer bottles." And Martice's version keeps the same two actors--Marco Rodriguez and Otis Gray--alternating scene to scene. Armed with Najera's script and a wardrobe of outrageous costumes, the pair is sure to cover a second set of audiences with stereotype-crushing comedy, whether they can take it or not.


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