Ruben C. Gonzalez in \"LA Esquinita, USA\"

Review: LA Esquinita USA | Cara Mia Theatre Company

Where Everybody Knows Your Nombre

Rubén C. Gonzalez brings his solo show LA Esquinita, USA, from Teatro Campesino to Dallas' Cara Mía Theatre.

published Saturday, March 31, 2012

Decaying barrio, magic universe, smokin' live theater: Rubén C. Gonzalez shape-shifts nine lives like el gato in his many-hued kaleidoscope of the imagination. His live stage art is transcendent, exhilarating in its simplicity, yet full of emotional depth. Billing his work as "socio/spiritual theater for a new age," Cara Mía Theatre Company presents three performances of Gonzalez's one man bilingual touring show, LA Esquinita, USA, through Saturday night at Dallas' Latino Cultural Center. The show, directed by Kinán Valdez, premiered at California's El Teatro Campesino in 2010.

La Esquinita, an imaginary, financially depressed town in anywhere USA, is peopled with nine quirky characters from the barrio, male and female, aged and youthful, all seeking identity, connection and peace. Gonzalez defines his universe through the persona of a shape-shifting "wise man" who comes and goes, teasing, guiding and commenting upon the other characters' actions and expressions; part Coyote trickster, part Obi Wan.

Most of the story unfolds through the painful odyssey of a troubled youth Daniel, full of pretension and bluster and immersed in the drug scene. Gonzalez's adeptness at lightning-fast transitions from one character to another, never losing a beat or dropping a line or the story's thread, and inhabiting each character with a full stage role's dedication, is a marvel to behold. He keeps his audience enchanted and eager to know where the journey leads, who might emerge next.

A gray-toned painting on an upstage screen, depicting urban decay haunted by a human heart dominates the stage (not credited in the program). Downstage both right and left, Gonzalez has placed a bus-stop sign with a derelict shopping cart parked beside it and a waist-high black trash can as "prop containers" from which he draws each character's defining tricks as the show proceeds.

Sound design by Stephanie Woehrmann and lighting design by Sarah Guerra define mood or accent a script moment (from the ping of a bell to a didgeridoo's wail) without ever upstaging Gonzalez's elegant performance.

Cara Mía Theatre's mission is to "broaden appreciation and understanding of Chicano and Latino culture through theater, literature and educational programs." La Esquinita, USA fulfills every aspect of that mission and offers an evening of charmed, evocative performance.0

◊ You can also read this review on the author's blog, CriticalRant, which is a TheaterJones media partner. Bonifield's blog is also up for an arts blogger award, find out more hereThanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
Where Everybody Knows Your Nombre
Rubén C. Gonzalez brings his solo show LA Esquinita, USA, from Teatro Campesino to Dallas' Cara Mía Theatre.
by Alexandra Bonifield

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :