What's it about?
Tell Hector I Miss Him is a contempory play written by Paola Lazaro based in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico that highlights the life and struggles of a small community who find safety and companionship underground, in a stone basement of an old Spanish fort with a man named Mostro as the chosen community leader.
What I experienced?
Do you believe in perfect timing?
The day I saw this show just felt like a perfect day, even before I got to the theatre. From the moment I woke up to the time I entered the theatre space I felt so on point and so smooth - which for me is incredibly rare living in a crazy city like New York. When I got to my seat and I started looking through the Playbill, I immediately recognized some familiar names - Victor Almanzar and Yadira Guevara-Prip, who I saw a few months prior in a show called Street Children and Selenis Leyva and Dascha Polanco, who are both best known for their roles in the Netflix original series Orange in the New Black. Who is freaking HYPE about this cast right now? Me!
Once the show began, I recognized another familiar face. Sean Carvajal. Holy shit!! I worked with this guy before!! I may not always be great with names but, I never forget a face and I remember working with him when I was an Intern at 16 years old! How cool is that?!
Okay. Let me just be honest for a second and say for a good chunk of this show, I had no idea what this show was supposed to be about. I'm used to shows that are linear in structure, that have a very clear story line and clear themes. This show was not really like that. It took me a while to realize that there wasn't a linear storyline and it showcases the different lives of the people living in this small community. The title of the play itself doesn't make sense at all until the second act. And there are moments when Spanish is used, leaving some moments (for me) unclear and some jokes that went right over my head. And yet, with all of this, I couldn't shake the butterflies rummaging around in my tummy while watching. It was like I was on the best first date of my life even though I went to the theatre alone.
After the show, I waited around for the cast to come out until I was the only audience member left. I got to speak to Victor who I was blown away by in both of the productions I saw him in and we had a beautiful conversation about diversity in theatre. I also got to speak to Sean who encouraged me to keep pushing for my dreams and take on roles and jobs that continue to shine light on the importance of art. Through Sean, I was also able to speak to Paola Lazaro who is not only an inspiring playwright to me (and a new favorite) but was so lovely!
The show itself felt so refreshing! There were so many moments throughout that I still remember days later but there was one scene in particular that really stuck with me. There was a scene with Isis, Malena and Tati - the three younger female characters who are all very much lost and in search of themselves. They spend the entire scene talking about their imperfect vaginas and even showing them to each other. This scene really stood out to me because it was so awkward to watch but in the best possible way. The fact that these girls are not only speaking truth about being uncomfortable with a very private part of their bodies but are also so comfortable with their sisterhood, enough to show it to one another was so beautiful to me. I'm gonna take a huge leap and say that scene was one of my favorite scenes in all of the theatre I've ever seen. Ever. Do you understand the gravity of that statement?!
I have always been someone who really believed in timing and that everything happens for a reason. When I decided to see this show, I picked it for it's "non-white" cast and that was really it. Little did I know that seeing that show would really light a fire under my ass and give me so much more momentum days later. From the venue - which I had only heard of a few weeks prior when I was looking into conservatory programs, to the people I got to speak to, to the show itself - it felt like a sign. A sign that this is where my heart lies. Being able to see a show like this - truly diverse, raw and unfiltered - felt like a real privilege. With the political climate that we are in right now, I honestly feel like we need more theatre like this. Shows that shine light on the lives and struggles of all kinds of people, that welcome their truths with open arms, written with "own voices". I need more. We need more. This is the kind of the theatre that truly inspires me as an artist, as someone who is part of the "minority" and someone who knows how much theatre can heal by just being truthful and honest to the human experience. For all humans, no one excluded.
Want to see it?
What did you experience?
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