Dealing with family can be unpredictable; tears, laughter, and love are all mixed together to create something specific to those you call your own. EL BORRACHO the play making its world premiere at The Old Globe through March 20th brings the story of a family to stage with warmth, laughter, love and may cause you to tear up a bit too.
A comedy-drama, EL BORRACHO is the story of a family in the last few weeks of the life of Raul (Jesse J. Perez). He’s sick, can’t work, and needs a caretaker; so after some convincing by son David (Matthew Martínez), his ex-wife Alma (Zilah Mendoza) agrees to let him move in with her and she will help take care of him.
Alma knows this won’t be easy, like the character “El Borracho” from the La Lotería game which features colorful characters and colors, Raul can be fun, musical, entertaining, and is a drunk. The scenic design by David Israel Reynoso emphasizes this family discord with the tidy and functional apartment drowning in a moat of empty alcohol containers.
While the play has three characters, the main crux of the show is the friction between Raul and Alma who has begrudgingly taken him after their kids convince her to do so. David goes to school and visits often, but he is also struggling with his relationship with his father.
The play could easily be heavy, but directed by Edward Torres and written by Tony Menses the play is full of laughter, color, and warmth. There is conflict, and old hurts are dredged up and discussed, but so are happy memories, music, and dance.
Perez is compelling, dynamic, and funny as Raul. It’s easy to see how someone could become captivated by the man Raul was before he became this unreliable narrator thanks to alcohol and illness. Mendoza as Alma is more than equal as his opposite; the woman who had to become even more self-disciplined, and immune to Raul’s charms to successfully raise three kids without his help. Martínez as David is sweet, vulnerable, and caught in the middle of his parents who both accuse him of taking the other’s side.
The scenic design is complemented by the neon lighting by Mextly Couzin, and the original music and sound designed by David R. Molina everything together.
EL BORRACHO is an entertaining and touching look at one family as they each come to terms with who they were, who they have become, and who they are to each other.
How to get tickets
All patrons who attend the EL BORRACHO will be required to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present proof of vaccination or provide proof of the negative results of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of entering the theatre. Masks are required at all times while indoors.
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